GM James Jones: Kevin Durant is ‘close’ to Suns debut

Feb 22, 2023, 4:22 PM | Updated: 4:50 pm

General manager James Jones of the Phoenix Suns looks on after the game against the Miami Heat at F...

General manager James Jones of the Phoenix Suns looks on after the game against the Miami Heat at FTX Arena on March 09, 2022 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

(Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

The Suns are inching ever closer to the debut of superstar Kevin Durant on the court in a Phoenix uniform.

Despite reports that Durant could make his debut vs. the Oklahoma City Thunder, ESPN’s Brian Windhorst reported that Durant is most likely not going to be on the court on Friday.

Phoenix general manager joined Arizona Sports’ Burns & Gambo on Wednesday and said Durant is “close” to a return but wasn’t definitive as to when the forward will step foot on the court post-All-Star break.

“We have a practice tomorrow (Thursday), we’ll get a better gauge of where he is tomorrow, but he’s close,” Jones said. “I just can’t tell you exactly when he’ll play, but he is close.”

Durant has not played since Jan. 8 after spraining his MCL in a game against the Miami Heat. The Brooklyn Nets were 17-2 over the last 19 games Durant played.

Jones said Durant has been ramping up, going through 3-on-3 and 5-on-5 drills.

“We want to see sustained movements, put him out there for 20-30 minutes and see how he responds in the moment, but more importantly, the day after,” Jones said. “It is just like a regular game, they get in a game and feel great, then they go home and their bodies settle and 12 hours later they are sore or say ‘this doesn’t feel right.’

“He has been progressing over the last couple of days, but our key guys have not been in market. … We hope tomorrow we will get a chance to see him out there with the full group and we will go from there, knowing every day he’s getting better, not having any setbacks. We expect him to progress well over the next couple of days.”

Jones added that players get a lot of say when they come back, noting if Durant wants to test things out on Friday, they may have discussions on how to properly use him.

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