Forward Kevin Durant of the Phoenix Suns injured himself while warming up on March 8. Initially, the Suns worried Durant could miss the balance of the regular season. The team is “hopeful” that Durant can return within two weeks, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic.
More details on the injury were provided by Suns general manager James Jones, according to Duane Rankin of AZ Central:
“No. Players that play and play a lot it get banged up, but it’s a sprained ankle. It’s the type of thing that if we’re in the playoffs, if the playoffs were to start today, he’d be out there. He’d be struggling a little bit. I’m always concerned for our players’ health when guys are hurt. I’ve been in that seat where you’re hurt. You’re always concerned about health, but anything long-term, severe, no, not (concerned) at all.”
At the moment, the Suns are in fourth place in the Western Conference. However, both the Golden State Warriors and Los Angeles Clippers, who are riding a three-game winning streak, are 1.5 games behind. In addition, the Suns are trailing the third-seeded Sacramento Kings by 3.5 games.
With 14 games left to play, there is a range of possibilities here. If Durant returns two weeks after his initial injury, his first game back would be on March 22nd against the Los Angeles Lakers. That would give the Suns another 11 games with Durant in the lineup, and if the Kings lose a few games, they have an opportunity to jump up to the three seed.
Conversely, if Durant is held out, the Clippers and/or Warriors could build momentum and jump them in the standings.