Presti: Thunder Will “Advance” Through Durant Injury

The Thunder has faced adversity over the years, and each time the internal makeup of the organization has allowed it to persevere. On Sunday, the team faced some tough news, as it was learned that Kevin Durant was diagnosed with a Jones Fracture in his right foot.

The team is hesitant to put forth a concrete timetable for Durant’s return from this common NBA injury, but there have been enough similar cases over the years to assess the average recovery time, which is about six-to-eight weeks. Each case, each injury and each athlete responds differently to treatment, so the Thunder understands there is some uncertainty that lays ahead.

One thing that is assured, however, is that General Manager Sam Presti is confident that the organization, players, coaches and staff will respond admirably to the challenge of playing without the reigning NBA MVP.

“In these cases, you can either withdraw or advance,” Presti said emphatically. “We’re going to advance.”

During the rest of training camp and into the season, the Thunder will assess the ways in which it can gain from this bout of adversity, as players, coaches and staff will have to rise to the occasion. The goal for the Thunder is to enhance its style of play by being sharp on the offensive and defensive sides of the ball.

With Head Coach Scott Brooks at the helm and leaders like Russell Westbrook and Nick Collison in the fold, the organization is prepared to deal with this unexpected situation. In the past, the team has found ways to improve as a unit after injuries to core players. If the team can get into a rhythm of playing at a high level and continue to evolve on both ends of the floor, re-gaining Durant at some point during the season will pay even larger dividends.

“Our team and organization have been in situations similar to this in the past,” Presti said. “This is when we’re at our best. One of the things that we traditionally try to do is, within every adversity, we’re always looking for where the opportunity is.”

“Our job is to identify the opportunity, to figure out how we improve upon it, how we seize it and how we execute on it, so that when Kevin does return, that we’re a better team for it,” Presti continued. “I have a lot of confidence that we’re going to do that. I have a lot of confidence in the team at large but also in the mentality that has been built here.”

Durant’s injury is obviously a tough one for the Thunder, as it would be for any team, but Presti and the Thunder understand that it will be a full team effort to discover the best possible way to play in his absence. The organization itself recognizes that there has been a large amount of good fortune in Oklahoma City over the past seven seasons.

As a result, the team’s reaction to adversity is never to look backwards, but to find a way to prosper through it. There’s no way to plan for everything that is thrown at an NBA team during a season, but elite organizations grade themselves on the way they deal with adverse conditions. This situation will be no different than others for the Thunder in the past, and Presti believes the organization will respond admirably once again.  

“I don’t think we’re under any illusion that we can control the things that take place,” Presti said. “We recognize day-to-day that anything and everything can happen in the NBA.”

“You have to put all of your energy into how you react, not anticipating what is going to happen,” Presti explained. “Our energy is always focused on how we react and taking purposeful action from there. In every situation we’ve been encountered with, we’ve found opportunity to thrive. It’s there. We have to identify it, work at it and execute it.”