Kevin Durant misses third straight game, but hammy feels 'way better'

OKLAHOMA CITY -- Kevin Durant said he is feeling "way better" since injuring his left hamstring Tuesday against the Washington Wizards.

Durant missed his third straight game Monday night, a 122-114 loss to the Memphis Grizzlies, and the injury will likely keep him out at least one more game.

"Feeling a lot better," he said. "Way better, actually."

Durant is set to be reevaluated in a few days, but he hasn't been back on the practice court yet. He said he is doing weight training and taking some set shots following practices and has no problem taking it slow in returning from this injury.

"Hamstrings are a little different," Durant said. "You can reinjure them pretty easily if you try and play through it, or as we say now, 'Be tough.' I call that being dumb. But hamstring strains you can't really try and play through it. Just got to get it right and make sure everything is perfect when I come back to play."

Durant missed 55 games last season because of three surgeries on his right foot to repair a Jones fracture, as well as a severe ankle sprain and toe injury. Being sidelined again just a few weeks into the season is obviously an undesired setback, but Durant isn't going to push to get back too quickly.

"This time around, [I] just want to make sure I'm fully healed and feel good about going out there and playing again," he said.

Durant conceded being injured again is "definitely frustrating," but the former MVP isn't fazed, despite being sidelined for the fifth time in the past year.

"Man, when I look at it in the grand scheme of things, I'm breathing, my mom is all right, my family is good," Durant said Sunday before the Oklahoma City Thunder's game against the Boston Celtics. "Hamstring strain -- as long as I don't have to get surgery again, I don't have to go through that process again -- it's just a minor bump in the road. Unfortunate for me, but it's nothing to hang my head over."

This is the first muscle injury the 27-year-old Durant has experienced in his NBA career, but he rejects the idea that so much time missed last season might have contributed to the strain.

"Not at all. I just came down wrong," he said. "Sometimes, it's just bad luck. I just came down wrong. Everything was straight. I wasn't overcompensating. I felt good, just came down wrong. Tough break for me. But everything felt great, my body felt great, conditioning felt really good. I was getting used to NBA schedule again. So everything felt great, but it's just tough luck."

Amid questions of rust and regaining his rhythm, Durant picked up where he left off in his 2013-14 MVP season by scoring 28.1 points per game on 50.3 percent shooting.

"It's definitely frustrating because I want to play," Durant said. "I felt like I was in a good groove before, but it's a part of the game. I just got to keep working to get back, and I've been working my tail off every single day to get back, and my teammates have been holding it down."

Asked if he has a better sense of his timetable, Durant said, "December probably is when I'll play again."


"Nah," he said, laughing. "Who knows, man? It's a day-by-day thing. They said a week to 10 days that they'll look back at it, so we'll see after that. But once they look at it again, I just want to be 100 percent ready to play. I don't want to push it and 'be tough.' I just want to be smart about it."

The Thunder have started guard Anthony Morrow in Durant's place in the three games he has missed and have tried to maintain their regular rotation while the sharpshooting Morrow sort of mimics Durant's off-ball movement and the team adjusts to new head coach Billy Donovan's offense.

"[Morrow's] playing well," Durant said, "but I do want my spot back."