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Oklahoma City Thunder's Kevin Durant close to returning, could play Saturday

By Darnell Mayberry - Staff Writer Published: March 12, 2009
Kevin Durant's sprained right ankle is close to 100 percent, and the Thunder could have its leading scorer back in the lineup Saturday at Phoenix. Durant, who has missed the past seven games, is expected to practice Friday in Phoenix, his first practice since sustaining the injury on Feb. 27. If there is no pain or swelling in his foot Saturday morning he likely will return to the starting lineup against the Suns.

“I'm feeling good right now,” Durant said. “It's a slight pinch but it's nothing I can't play on. I'm ready to get back out there as soon as possible.”

Before Wednesday's game at Denver, Durant increased his pre-game workout to include running, cutting, full-court dribbling and drilled on pick-and-rolls, pin downs and running off screens. He is now wearing tape on his right ankle to take pressure off his foot but said he can again run at full speed, something he couldn't do a week ago.

Rose thankful for playing time with Thunder

Malik Rose has become a bit of a surprise player over the past week — surprising because when the Thunder acquired him from New York in exchange for Chris Wilcox on Feb. 19, he wasn't expected to see much playing time.

Rose, however, has averaged 11.6 points and 5.3 rebounds over the past three games, filling in admirably while the injury bug has bitten the Thunder.

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