Kevin Durant on injuries: ‘No negative feelings, it is next man up’

Dec 16, 2023, 10:52 AM

Phoenix Suns forward Kevin Durant (35) looks at the scoreboard during the second half of an NBA bas...

Phoenix Suns forward Kevin Durant (35) looks at the scoreboard during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the New York Knicks, Friday, Dec. 15, 2023, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Matt York)

(AP Photo/Matt York)

After Bradley Beal suffered a sprained ankle in Friday’s loss to the New York Knicks, Kevin Durant, Devin Booker and Frank Vogel all spoke about the onslaught of injuries the Suns have dealt with this season.

The Big Three has only played 24 minutes together this season and the Suns have had to use 12 starting lineups in 25 games this season.

Beal left the game with a right ankle injury with 7:28 remaining in the first quarter after shooting a three-pointer and landing on the foot of New York guard Donte DiVincenzo, who was called for a flagrant 1 because he didn’t allow Beal space to land.

Beal made the flagrant free throw before exiting the game but did not return. He scored six points and shot 2-of-2 from the field.

Vogel told reporters postgame Beal’s X-rays came back negative.

“Injuries are a part of the game,” Vogel said. “I am disappointed for him; he’s worked really hard. You can see the disappointment on his face, so that’s my biggest concern is keeping him lifted. He’ll get back soon enough, but it’s been a frustrating injury type of season for him. And in terms for us? Injuries are a part of the game. You can’t get caught up in that and you move on.”

Durant, Booker and Beal have been on the court together for just one other game this season which came during Wednesday night’s loss at home against Brooklyn.

Beal has played in just six of the Suns’ 25 games after suffering from a sore back which kept him out for most of the season. Friday’s contest was just his third game back after missing 22 of the first 25 games.

Beal is averaging 14.7 points in 25.2 minutes per game this season.

Booker has also missed nine games this year with foot, calf and ankle injuries, while Durant has missed five games with foot and ankle injuries.

“Keep leading, keep playing and keep competing,” Booker said. “We have a job to do, and we are going to do that. We all have a lot of experience and have been around to understand things like this happen. It is just how you respond. I am sure he is getting treatment and getting ready right now.”

Durant spoke highly of Beal, calling him a “selfless player,” and someone who can do anything out on the floor. He also praised his work ethic and said, “those are the type of people I love being around.”

Durant scored 29 points and added six assists in 36 minutes in Friday’s loss. Durant, in his 17th season, is used to dealing with injuries and explained the team’s attitude going forward.

“No negative feelings, it is next man up,” Durant said. “This is pro sports, we been a part of this for a long time. Guys get injured, (expletive) happens. I think we rallied around each other in the first half, played some solid ball. Played some solid ball in the third quarter too. They made shots, got hot and aggressive. They killed us in the pick and roll and that was the game.”

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