Kevin Durant did not participate in practice Thursday, and Oklahoma City Thunder coach Scott Brooks called him doubtful for Friday's game at Atlanta after the star forward sprained his left ankle Wednesday against Indiana.
“But you never know,” Brooks said. “We'll see how he feels overnight and we'll go from there. He's a competitive guy like we all are. He doesn't like to miss games, but we're going to do what's best for Kevin.”
Durant was limited to free throws during Thursday's practice but had both shoes on. He had left the Oklahoma City Arena following the win against the Pacers wearing a protective boot on his left foot for precautionary reasons. Durant walked out of the team's practice facility Thursday with a slight limp but did not have on a boot.
“It's one of them injuries you can't avoid,” Durant said. “I feel good today, better than I thought. I'm just taking it day by day and see what happens tomorrow.”
Durant was scheduled to make the trip to Atlanta with the team Thursday afternoon, but his availability will not officially be decided until Friday, either at the team's morning shoot-around or just before the start of the game.
“It's not in my hands,” Durant said, leaving the decision to the team's medical staff. “As of right now, I want to play. I think I can play. If we started a game right now I could play.”
One major reason for optimism was Durant's ankle didn't swell severely Wednesday night after the game. For now, Durant said he will continue to treat the injury with ice and pressure sleeves.
“I've twisted my ankle so many times so I kind of know the timetable,” Durant said. “I give it a couple of days. It's been one already. So hopefully by tomorrow at 7:30 it's all right.”
This is at least the fourth time this season that Durant has dealt with ankle issues. Durant missed two games in mid-November, wins at Boston and Milwaukee, because of a sprained left ankle. He also rolled his left ankle at Sacramento on Feb. 12 and rolled his right ankle at San Antonio on Feb. 23.
But even if Durant is unable to go Friday, he said he doubts he'll miss extended time and doesn't think the injury will linger the rest of the year.
Brooks said he would start second-year shooting guard James Harden in Durant's place Friday if Durant does have to sit out.
“But we have some options there,” Brooks said. “I like what James has been doing. But we don't know until tomorrow.”
Harden has started five games this season, averaging 11 points, 4.8 rebounds and 3.4 assists in 33.4 minutes as a starter.
Thunder at Hawks When: 6:30 p.m. Friday Where: Philips Arena TV: FS Oklahoma (Cox 37, HD Ch. 722) Radio: WWLS 98.1-FM, WWLS 640-AM THREE THINGS TO KNOW * Thunder forward Kevin Durant is doubtful for tonight's game with a sprained left ankle. Hawks forward Josh Smith is doubtful with a sore right knee. * The Thunder is 16-13 on the road, one of only four teams in the Western Conference that own a winning road record. * Atlanta added point guard Kirk Hinrich via trade with Washington last week, sending Mike Bibby to the Wizards.