'Slim Reaper on the way': Kevin Durant on course to return from injury Wednesday vs. T-Wolves
SALT LAKE CITY — Kevin Durant is trending towards making his return Wednesday from a left ankle sprain that’s sidelined him for the Phoenix Suns' last 10 games.
"Slim Reaper on the way, man," said Ayton about Durant. "Things kind of cloudy. I was with the dude all last week so I know the type of work he's been putting in. We're just really prepared and excited. He's got to play at home one day."
Sources inform The Republic that Durant is on course to play against the Minnesota Timberwolves at Footprint Center as he was scheduled for an re-evaluation this week.
"We'll see," Suns coach Monty Williams said when asked if Durant will play Wednesday. "I've got to get the information from our (medical) team. He's working his tail off. I'm not quite sure because I've been so focused on the team that we have on the floor. If all the boxes are checked, then we'll evaluate. We have to wait and see. He's been working his tail off. He's done everything possible to get himself back as close as he can to game shape, but it's hard to know. So we just got to check all the boxes before we make any statement about his play."
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Durant twisted his left ankle during a pregame workout March 8 before what would’ve been his Suns home debut against Oklahoma City.
If he plays Wednesday, Durant will finally make that home debut before what is sure to be an extremely lit sellout crowd.
"You're talking about one of the best players to ever play is coming out there," said Suns forward T.J. Warren, who came in the trade with Durant from Brooklyn to Phoenix right before the Feb. 9 trade deadline.
"When he's out there, Kevin Durant show, it's going to be a joy to watch. Suns fans. It's going to be electric in there. I'm excited to be a part of that."
The Suns (40-35) went 3-0 with him in the lineup, but they’ve gone 4-6 minus the two-time finals MVP and 13-time All-Star since. With Durant back, the Suns will be full strength for the first time in months.
"It's good timing," Suns All-Star Devin Booker said. "Playoffs are right around the corner. It's a good time to be full strength. We obviously have some kinks to work out. We can only do that by experience, playing with each other. Our first three games went really well. I'm excited to get back to that."
Phoenix topped Utah, 117-103, Monday before a sellout crowd of 18,206 at Vivint Arena to post consecutive wins for the first time since its four-game win streak, which was greatly fueled by that 3-0 burst with Durant.
Booker scored a team-high 24 points in Monday’s win over the Jazz (35-40).
Kevin Durant (gray hoodie) talking to #Suns assistant Bryan Gates. pic.twitter.com/dnF4fK0Rvh
— Duane Rankin (@DuaneRankin) March 28, 2023
Deandre Ayton added 14 and eight rebounds after missing Phoenix’s previous four games with a right hip contusion suffered in the fourth quarter of a March 16 home win over Orlando.
Ayton and Durant were both in Phoenix as neither made the team's recent three-game road trip. So the Suns big saw his new teammate grinding his way back.
"Looked like he was working harder than me so I tried to work as hard as him," Ayton said. "It was that type of thing. He was working hard. He was outside doing sleds, all that stuff. I saw him do everything. Like I said, it was a training camp. They were preparing us for the playoffs."
Phoenix traded Mikal Bridges, Cam Johnson, Jae Crowder, four first round picks and a pick swap to Brooklyn for Warren and Durant.
Durant averaged 26.7 points in his three games with the Suns as he hit the game winner in an 130-126 win March 5 at Dallas.
"It's going to be nice," Suns All-Star point guard Chris Paul said. "A guy who means that much to your team, you don't know what you look like until he's playing. Same thing with DA. A lot of guys have been stepping up, filling voids, but it'll be good to see what we're going to look like."
Fourth in the West, Phoenix will play five of its last seven games at home.
Wednesday vs T-Wolves.
Friday vs. Nuggets.
Sunday at Thunder.
April 4 vs. Spurs.
April 6 vs. Nuggets.
April 7 at Lakers.
April 9 vs. Clippers.
Have opinion about current state of the Suns? Reach Suns Insider Duane Rankin at email@example.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: Suns star Kevin Durant (ankle) course to return Wednesday vs. T-Wolves