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Kevin Durant could return from ankle injury by end of March for Phoenix Suns

SACRAMENTO – Kevin Durant is scheduled for a re-evaluation of a left ankle sprain next week that could lead to a return by the end of the month.

Durant twisted his left ankle during a pregame workout March 8 before what would’ve been his Suns home debut against Oklahoma City.

The Suns (38-34) went 3-0 with Durant on the floor as he averaged 26.7 points in those games, but they’ve gone 2-5 since.

Phoenix concludes a three-game road trip Friday against Sacramento (43-29).

Phoenix Suns forward Kevin Durant (35) and guard Devin Booker (1) watch the action against the Orlando Magic in the second half at Footprint Center in Phoenix on March 16, 2023.
Phoenix Suns forward Kevin Durant (35) and guard Devin Booker (1) watch the action against the Orlando Magic in the second half at Footprint Center in Phoenix on March 16, 2023.

Team officials announced March 9, the day after Durant injured his ankle, he’d be re-evaluated in three weeks. Phoenix’s final two games in March are Wednesday against Minnesota (37-37) and Friday versus West leader Denver (49-24).

The Suns are fourth in the West as they have a slightly higher winning percentage than the Clippers (39-35). They’re a game ahead of the defending NBA champion Warriors (38-36) and two in front of the Timberwolves.

Phoenix took three out of four from Golden State to own the head-to-head tiebreaker. The Suns are 2-1 versus the Clippers as they close out the regular season against them April 9 in Phoenix.

As for the T-Wolves, Phoenix is 2-1 versus them. The Nuggets play against East leader Milwaukee (52-20) on Saturday while Minnesota returns to action Sunday at Golden State.

All-Star Karl Anthony-Towns scored 22 points in 26 minutes of his return game Minnesota won, 125-124, Wednesday over Atlanta after missing 51 games with a calf injury.

Durant essentially missed two months after suffering a right MCL sprain Jan. 8 in Miami while he was playing for Brooklyn. He made his Suns debut March 1 at Charlotte.

Phoenix Suns forward Kevin Durant celebrates after scoring during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Charlotte Hornets on Wednesday, March 1, 2023, in Charlotte, N.C.
Phoenix Suns forward Kevin Durant celebrates after scoring during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Charlotte Hornets on Wednesday, March 1, 2023, in Charlotte, N.C.

The Suns traded Mikal Bridges, Cam Johnson, Jae Crowder, four first round picks and a pick swap to Brooklyn for T.J. Warren and Durant right before the Feb. 9 trade deadline.

Suns team president of basketball operation and general manager, James Jones, said in an interview with The Republic earlier this month that Durant would’ve played through the injury if it were the playoffs.

“Players that play and play a lot get banged up, but it’s a sprained ankle,” Jones said before Phoenix’s home loss March 11 to Sacramento.

“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.”

Have opinion about current state of the Suns? Reach Suns Insider Duane Rankin at dmrankin@gannett.com or contact him at 480-787-1240. Follow him on Twitter at @DuaneRankin.

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This article originally appeared on Arizona Republic: Kevin Durant could return from injury by end of March for Suns