BOSTON — Kevin Durant was tending to his own ailment Wednesday night when he learned of Greg Oden’s latest one.
And as he heard the news, Durant’s heart dropped like it has so many times since the two entered the NBA together in 2007.
“All I could do was pray for him,” said Durant, who sprained his left ankle Wednesday against Houston and could miss his first action of the season starting tonight at Boston.
“When I heard about it, I was shocked because he worked so hard to try to get back. To go through some unfortunate circumstances, to be hurt, I felt for him. So I just prayed for him. Hopefully everything goes well with him.”
Durant hasn’t spoken to Oden, the injury-plagued top pick who Portland plucked and left Durant to fall to the Oklahoma City franchise. The Thunder’s star said Friday he just wants to see Oden get well.
“I’m sure he’ll be back,” Durant said. “This is just a slight bump in the road. It happens. People go through adversity. He’s going to be fine. I hope and pray that he is and he gets back to full strength.”
Unlike the rest of the basketball world, Durant said his thoughts didn’t immediately drift back to draft night 2007 and the unavoidable question of ‘what if?’ when he heard Oden would miss the entire 2010-11 season — the second time in four years Oden will have missed an entire season because of rickety knees.
“Not at all,” Durant said. “I just think about his well-being. That’s selfish to think about myself when he’s hurt. Like I said, I feel for the team, for him, for his mom and his family. He’s been through so much as a player, getting hurt in college and then working so hard and playing so well to be the No. 1 pick, and then getting hurt before his rookie season and getting hurt his second year. That’s tough.”
Durant, though, did admit he still feels the connection to Oden, especially when his Thunder plays against Oden’s Blazers.
“Yeah. All the time,” Durant said. “Every time we play Portland I think about me and him and that debate that went on before the draft. I played against him three or four times. So I miss seeing him out on the floor. Because we became good friends because of that. I just wish him well. Hopefully he comes back quick.”
Oden, Durant said, still has plenty to offer.
“I hope people don’t give up on him, because when he’s playing he’s one helluva player,” Durant said. “When he gets back, I know he’s going to be ready to play.”