Q&A: Kevin Durant

Posted by Unknown on Tuesday, October 21, 2014 with No comments
Courtesy of Anthony Slater

What’s your frame of mind coming out of surgery?
It was good. It was different experience for me, never been injured before. Throughout this whole process, the Thunder’s been great in getting me to the best surgeon and being able to rest so far. Everything is progressing and I’m looking forward to these next few weeks, getting better.
Talk us through the day you found about the news?
Yeah, you play so much, you always feel those nicks and bruises, just play through. This last Saturday it felt a little different. So I just called Monty and my trainer and tell them that my foot was bothering me a little bit. I figured he’d tell me to get an MRI and everything would be fine. Later that night, he told me I had a crack in my foot and needed surgery. So it was unexpected, but I’ve gone through so much in my life, it’s just another bump in the road I have to get past. It’s really all good, to be honest.
What is your role with these guys while you’re recovering?
Just help out as much as possible, lead from where I am, which is the sideline. I feel like a coach, feel like Nick Saban, rolling around on my scooter from court to court giving advice and trying to help out as much as I can. It’s a different position for me, but I’m looking forward to growing mentally watching the game and learning from my teammates, trying to help them as much as I can.
Those five days after you found out you were hurt. Were you thinking about no surgery?
I always was just thinking what was the best option for me. If I would have kept playing on it, got no surgery, it only would have got worse. So I talked to the doctor and they told me the best thing to do was to get surgery on it and let it heal that way. They put a screw in my foot, so it was able to keep the bone strong. I knew I had to go through it and I’ll be reevaluated five more weeks after Thursday. I knew it was going to take some time, but it’s needed, something that’ll help my foot in the long run.
What’s the most serious injury you’ve had in the past?
Couple sprained ankles.
How has your body recovered from injuries in the past?
Pretty quick. I’ve never had surgery before, first thing. I don’t really know what to expect, but I know I’ll make a full recovery.
Anything that makes you think you can come back sooner or quicker than expected?
Nah, I’m not going to rush it at all. That’s one thing I’m not going to do. I’m sure I’ll feeI better in two or three weeks, but I definitely don’t want to rush it. So I’m taking my time with it. Blessed that it happened early in the season so I can get passed it and hopefully by December I’ll be ready to play.
How long until you can get back on the court you think?
That’s a good question. We’ll see how it feels at that time and then go from there. I’m just taking it a day at a time, working as hard as I can in the weight room and doing my rehab. Like I said, it’s the first time something like this has happened to me, so I’m just trying to take it all in and just get better as a basketball player as I can, as far as mentally and helping my teammates. Just being the best leader I can be from the sidelines.
Any players on the league reached out to you or given you advice?
Nah, not really. I’ve been around so many players who have been injured before and seen how they handled it. A lot of people reached out to me and wished me well and hoped I’d have a speedy recovery. So that’s pretty cool to see your peers reach out to you, so at the end of the day, had to go through it and get better and stay positive. My teammates are watching me even though I’m out. They see me staying positive, it’ll help them out as well.
What have you told Russell (Westbrook) about November and what lies ahead for him?
Stay who you are. Don’t have to change what you do. He knows that. He’s a smart player. He knows that we all have to do it as a team. It’s going to be fun. I’m excited to see the team play. Been working extremely hard. LIke I said, I’m just trying to help out as much as I can, help Russ, help Serge and Perk, everybody. Just trying to tell them what I see from the sideline and hope it helps out.
What has helped you guys perservere in the past from these adversities?
Just knowing that we’ve been here before helps a lot. Just knowing that we always fight, never give up, no matter what the circumstance is. Guys have belief in that.
How antsy will you get not being able to play?
I’ve been antsy since I got out of surgery, seen that Chicago-Cleveland game last night and I wanted to get out there and play. As a competitor, I love to play basketball, that’s all I’ve been doing. Injuries have never had me out this long, but it’s part of the game. I understand that. I still can be successful on the court, in this chair, shooting jump shots. Just can’t play in the game. I really get my fix when I watch my guys practice every day.
How’s your mom doing?
She’s doing good. She was there when I went into surgery and when I went out, been taking care of me. She’s making sure I don’t do anything, step down on my foot. Gotta wrap up my foot when I take showers. She’s there every moment. I really appreciate that. I feel like I need a little bell to ring every time and she’s been there for me. I told her to calm down sometimes, I’m alright. But she’s doing a great job and I’m excited to have the support.
Maybe this is a little soon for you, but Russ talked last year when he was out for an extended period about how it gave him a little bit of a different perspective on the game.
Yeah, when you take something away that you love, even if it's for a couple of days, you know you can't play. But in my case and Russell's case it's for a long time. You take it away and you kind of really think how much you appreciate it and how much you love it. So it's showing me a lot. I can't stop saying it. I got to just find a way to help and be the leader that I am and everything is going to work out.
As you showed last year, there's a lot that's just not reflected in the box score when you have to make up for a close teammate dealing with an injury. It's a lot in terms of leadership. How do you think Russell, specifically, is embracing that already without you there on the court?
I think coming into this year, even to start training camp he's more vocal. He's doing a great job of just leading the guys and talking up and leading by example; coming in early, leaving late. He's one of those guys. He's always been that. So nothing has to change. Just stay who he is and continue to just play the way he plays and everybody's going to follow. He's going to do a great job. I'm not worried about Russ. He knows how to handle every part of the game, mentally, physical, of course. He's a great leader for our team. I'm excited for the opportunity he has right now.
You've played more minutes than anybody since you've got in the league, which means Perry Jones has played fewer minutes than any backup in the league. What can you tell him? You've kind of embraced him since draft day.
Just be who you are. You don't have to change anything because somebody's out. Just be who you are. Don't overthink it. Just play the game. The game is played off of instincts. It's going to happen. Whatever is going to happen in this game is going to happen no matter who's in the game, who's out. So just play how you play, be who you are and everything's going to work out.
The Thunder has never had to play without you in the lineup. Do you think something positive can come out of this for the team as a whole down the road?
Most definitely. It's going to give guys opportunities to play, build confidence, build their chemistry as a team. So I'm looking at the positive side of it. It's a win-win, basically, because I'm learning a lot while I'm out about the game, and my teammates are getting a lot of opportunities because it's a lot of minutes out there to play and help contribute to the team.
One of those guys that's getting opportunities to score is Steven Adams. Can you talk about his development and what you've seen in the preseason?
He's playing extremely well. But I think you've got to give credit to Russ, who's drawing the defense and dumping off to Steve. And Steve is doing a great job of finishing. The ball is moving a lot better this season, and you've got to give credit to coach for putting in different offensive schemes so everybody touches the ball. Once that ball flies around then anybody has an opportunity to score if you're on that court. Russ is doing a great job as the point guard. Sebastian, Reggie when he played those two games. And our wings, Jeremy, Perry, are doing a great job of just being aggressive and it's opening things up for everybody.
Kevin, you've mentioned what you've been doing in practice. But have you given much thought to what games will be like, what you'll do on the bench, who you might try to sit around, sit by, what your role could be in games?
To be honest, it's one of those things I'll know once it happens. But like I said, whatever I see just try to help, whether it's from Steven to Perry to Russ to Coach, anybody. Anything I can help with I'm going to try to do. And guys, they do a great job, man. When you're injured you sometimes feel separated from the team. But I feel like I'm a part of it. Everybody's asking me for my input so I feel good about that. And I'm excited for the games, just to watch basketball and see our team play and try to help.
If you miss 15 to 20 games, it could cut your minutes down between 500 and 700 minutes as a whole. How do you think that additional rest will help you come playoff time?
I don't know. I'm always one of those guys that has to play a lot in order for me to be in shape and in order for me to feel great. So I don't know. This is new and different for me. So we'll see how I feel. But I'm really taking it a day at a time.
Do you think your conditioning will be a little out of whack when you come back?
Um, you know, game shape is different. You can run on the treadmill and do all those things off the court. But once you get into that game it's a different type of speed. I'm sure it's going to take me a few games, hopefully, at the least to get back to where I want to be. But that's all a part of it.
Unfortunately, you've got a lot of company on the bench. Six guys haven't played in the preseason. Just the injury bug that's bit you guys lately.
It's unfortunate. But it happens. Nobody's feeling sorry for us. Nobody really cares. We just got to get healthy. And we all know that. So we're not worried about anything else but guys that are hurt getting back on the court.
Kevin, you said you're in the weight room. But I assume there's some stuff you obviously can't do. Is that true, or are there ways you can compensate for not being able to run? Can you get on a bike, can you do some cardio, those sorts of things?
Yeah, I can. You can do cardio with your arms, get your heart rate up. That's what I've been doing. But I can't step down on my foot right now. So I can't put weight on it. So we're just working around it. I'm just trying to work as hard as I can, man, that's all I can say.
So you're going to come back super buff since you're going to be doing nothing but chest and arms?
I won't be as buff as you, but I'll try.