Kevin Durant cleared to play after foot injury, Thunder GM Sam Presti says

OKLAHOMA CITY -- Kevin Durant has been fully cleared for all basketball activities, Thunder general manager Sam Presti said Wednesday.

"He's been playing without restriction, 5-on-5 and competing as normal," Presti said at his preseason news conference. "With that said, as any of our players coming off injury, we're going to be watching and managing practice, recovery time; we're going to be watching. But as far as limitations, he doesn't have any."

Durant, who underwent three surgeries on his right foot to repair a Jones fracture last season, was partially cleared in August and participated in noncontact drills at a USA Basketball minicamp. But with the Thunder opening training camp next week, he's said to be entirely recovered from the foot injury that held him to 27 games last season as the Thunder missed the playoffs.

"He feels great. Looks great. It's great to have him back on the floor," Presti said. "Happy for him because he's been so committed and so disciplined to that process of getting back on the floor."

Presti said with the team monitoring rest and recovery that it's likely Durant won't appear in all the Thunder's preseason games, but that is standard for all their players and normal operating procedure for the preseason.

"We have to see how he feels during the beginning of camp, and then we'll map out a plan for the year as we do with all our players, not just Kevin," Presti said.

As for a minutes reduction for Durant, Presti said that's something the coaching and medical staffs will discuss throughout the season.

"Average minutes? I don't know. I think that's the most important thing. Are there going to be games where he plays more than the average? Probably. But I think you have to factor in it's 82 games and where you want to be at a certain point and where the schedule is and where opportunities might be to take some time.

"But he's going to play a lot of minutes because he can, but we're going to be really diligent with how those minutes will be distributed."

Durant is entering the final season of a five-year extension he signed with the Thunder in 2010. With his return to the floor, along with his pending free agency in 2016, there's a lot of attention and hype hovering over this Thunder season -- which is something Presti understands and hopes the team manages.

"Here's the thing: We're not going to bury our heads in the sand and pretend that's not going to be in the air," Presti said. "Knowing that the future is coming, we're incredibly excited about that because it's an opportunity for us to keep him in Oklahoma City: a Hall of Fame player, a legacy player, I should say a legacy person, in Oklahoma. But those are conversations for another day.

"He knows how we feel about him. The best way to serve the Thunder and put him in a position to be successful, those things are one in the same, and that's what we focus on."

In other Durant developments, The Players' Tribune announced Thursday the Thunder star will join the company as deputy publisher.

Durant will work closely with founding publisher and former New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter, who started the website for athletes to tell their own stories earlier this year.

Jeter said he sought Durant because he has an important voice off the court. Durant said he looks forward to building a place where "athletes can have our say and feel safe that nothing will be distorted.''

Editorial content from Durant is expected in the next few weeks.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.