With seven games to go before the start of the NBA playoffs, the Phoenix Suns are reportedly close to getting Kevin Durant back.
The Suns acquired Durant at the trade deadline in February. But he was injured at the time of the trade. Then, after finally suiting up, Durant played only three games before sustaining another injury during pregame warmups.
But on Tuesday, Shams Charania of the Athletic reported that Durant is expected to be in action on Wednesday when the Suns host the Minnesota Timberwolves.
After missing 10 games with a sprained ankle, Phoenix Suns All-NBA star Kevin Durant will make his return Wednesday vs. the Minnesota Timberwolves barring setback, league sources tell @TheAthletic @Stadium. pic.twitter.com/vePOrtWS7W
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) March 28, 2023
Basketball fans were excited about the news.
It’s a beautiful day
— Kevin O’Connor (@KevinOConnorNBA) March 28, 2023
Uh oh. The West is in trouble …
As long as pregame warmups don’t attack. https://t.co/BFBI1020tY
— Espo (@Espo) March 28, 2023
It’s getting real cloudy ain’t it https://t.co/0v3vY1CMJn
— andrew leezus (@AndrewLeezus) March 28, 2023
LET’S GO! https://t.co/OlW9RgPePM
— Greg Williams (@GregWilliams28) March 28, 2023
THE SLIM REAPER IS BACK. https://t.co/HiALKCPWXI
— Suns Nation (@SunsNationNBA) March 28, 2023
The excitement is understandable. Durant’s trade to Phoenix was exciting but we haven’t seen much of it in practice. In fact, given that all three of his previous games for the Suns were on the road, Wednesday would be Durant’s first time playing in front of his new home fans.
Durant has had a frustrating season, primarily due to injuries. He’s been limited to only 42 games. When he’s been out there, though, Durant has been as good as ever. He’s averaged 29.5 points per game while shooting 56.6% from the field, 38.6% on threes and 93.1% on free throws.
The return also comes at a good time. The Suns are 40-35, good enough for the No. 4 seed in the Western Conference. Entering Tuesday’s play, though, they’re only a game-and-a-half ahead of the Timberwolves and Golden State Warriors, who are currently tied for the No. 6 spot in the conference. So, getting a healthy Durant back could go a long way in helping Phoenix avoid the play-in games.