Kevin Durant has yet to choose his course of treatment for his frightening foot injury

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
Kevin Durant has yet to choose his course of treatment for his frightening foot injury
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Kevin Durant
    Kevin Durant
    LiveTodayTomorrowvs--|
  • Michael Jordan
    Michael Jordan
    American basketball player and businessman

There has never been an NBA player like Kevin Durant. The reigning league MVP remains an unholy combination of Michael Jordan, George Gervin and Ray Allen – and last year he decided to throw a little Larry Bird in there as well. He does all of this while running around the court while working with a nearly 7-foot frame, using a guard’s footwork while playing at a height that used to demand limited movement in the low post.

This is why Durant’s recent stress fracture is so frightening, and why it makes so much sense. No NBA player has been asked to do what Kevin has since entering the league in 2007, and in a way we’re lucky Durant has escaped major and/or fatigue-related injuries before. In the days since the diagnosis, though, Durant has yet to commit to actually going under the knife to fix his fifth metacarpal fracture, a move that would leave him on the shelf for nearly two months.

Dr. Mark Adickes, working at ESPN Insider, laid out Durant’s options:

A recent study found that Jones fractures treated without surgery had just a 76 percent chance of complete recovery, while those treated with surgery found a 95 percent return to full health.

The study further showed acute fifth metatarsal fractures treated with surgery resulted in a return to activity within four to 18 weeks, with the bulk of these patients getting back in action in eight to 12 weeks. Studies of stress fractures (Durant's probable variety) treated with surgery show a return to play in less than eight weeks. Athletes treated with surgery are placed in a walking boot and generally kept on crutches for just one to two weeks.

We’re not sure if the “18 weeks” part of things is a typo, but all surgeries do boast a potential worst case scenario, I suppose.

What’s most frightening is Adickes’ assumption Durant injured his foot because of extended wear and tear, and not from one standout incident. That would make sense, given Durant’s two appearances on Team USA, his withdrawing from Team USA camp in August citing fatigue, and the extended schedule that Durant’s very good Oklahoma City Thunder team has to play.

[Yahoo Sports Fantasy Basketball: Sign up and join a league today!]

It also makes sense because, as we spoke of above, there has never been a player like Kevin Durant.

Players who usually work the sort of game Durant do are stuck around the 6-foot-6, 215-pound mark, a mirror image of Michael Jordan’s frame. Jordan, who had the same injury in his second season, never had to carry the height and weight that Durant has to, and though Jordan boasts Olympic gold medals, his work with Team USA came before it was an expected turnout for every summer.

Durant’s closes physical comparison might be to that of Kevin Garnett, who is entering his 19th and possibly final NBA season. Though K.G. was and is a tireless worker, he wasn’t asked to peel off screens and fire from 25 feet away.

As it is with others we’ve lost too soon because of injury, what makes Durant so special could also leave him prone to a career-altering malady. Chicago Bull Pau Gasol is more of your traditional, low-post 7-footer, and he suffered the same ailment back in 2006, after plenty of rounds of international ball himself. From Sean Highkin at NBC Sports:

“Fractures happen,” Gasol said on Monday night, after the Chicago Bulls’ 110-90 preseason win over the Denver Nuggets. “I had a stress fracture of my fifth metatarsal (bone). I started to show some signs two years prior to the fracture and I was able to hold out for almost two years. From the point they started to see the little line of stress until the point actually broke, it was a year and a half or so.”

Gasol had his foot surgery in the summer of 2006, which kept him out of the final of the FIBA World Championships, where he was a member of the Spanish national team. The Memphis Grizzlies training staff had been monitoring his injury well before that, hoping it wouldn’t come to surgery.

“Each individual’s a little different,” the 34-year-old big man said. “Some are just fractures, some are stress fractures. Some happen quicker than others. On mine, I did feel it for a while. I was hoping that it wouldn’t break and I wouldn’t have to get surgery, but it did.”

Gasol went on to tell NBC Sports that he attempted to play through the creeping bone injury during a playoff run in 2005, but by the time 2006 hit, the bone had fractured. Pau underwent the surgery, and though his time in Memphis ended badly, he resumed his fabulous career. Jordan, though he nearly missed the entire season with the injury, obviously went on to turn into the greatest.

It’s still a stress fracture, though, for a player with plenty of miles on him, and one that plays an all-out game unseen from a player his size. The Thunder will have their work cut out for him in his absence, and the treatment remains Durant’s choice above all else, but we truly hope every voice surrounding Kevin Durant is telling him to undergo surgery and bite the two-month bullet.

- - - - - - -

Kelly Dwyer

is an editor for Ball Don't Lie on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at KDonhoops@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!