AP Photo/Kathy Willens, File

It's Time to Be Concerned About Kevin Durant's Injury History

I know that Kevin Durant's ankle injury in his first few games with the Phoenix Suns was a freak accident. I know that the fact that it comes just three games after making his debut with the Phoenix Suns, who traded for him from the Brooklyn Nets. I know that it is unrelated to the right knee injury that caused him to miss 20 games with Brooklyn/Phoenix.

I know all that.

And yet...I'm somehow not convinced. Because when I think about Kevin Durant these days, the image that most often comes to mind is him in street clothes on the bench of whatever team he happens to be sleeping with that day.

Devin Booker scored 44 points in a blowout win over the Oklahoma City Thunder, Durant's former team, which made for a tasty matchup in what was supposed to be Durant's home debut for the Suns. During his post-game television interview, Booker said Durant's injury was "just a roll."

The Phoenix Suns said otherwise. An official press release from the team announced that Durant had suffered a left ankle sprain and would be re-evaluated in three weeks.

Phoenix has just 18 games left in their regular season. It seems increasingly likely that even if Durant were able to return to the team in time for the start of the playoffs in mid-April, he will have had just three games to build chemistry with his new team, who were doing just fine prior to his arrival.

Is Kevin Durant Injury Prone?

Kevin Durant #7 of the Brooklyn Nets reacts late in the second half against the Memphis Grizzlies

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Over the past four seasons, Durant hasn't played more than 55 games of an 82-game NBA regular season. He has missed 20 or more consecutive games in each of the last three years.

After playing 78 games for Golden State in 2018-19, missed the entire Covid-shortened 2019 season with an Achilles injury that stretched into his firs year with Brooklyn. He appeared in just 35 games for the Nets that season and then played only 55 games in 2021-22.

This year, Durant has played in 42 of a possible 64 games between Brooklyn and Phoenix combined. By the time the regular season comes to a close, he will have only been a part of half of the games for which he was hired.

Long, Thin Legs and "Big-Ass Feet"

Texas' Kevin Durant drives to his left against Iowa State.

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Kevin Durant is is 6'10" and weighs 240 pounds. He wears a size 18 shoe, significantly bigger than the league average of 14.8, which includes both guards and centers. Durant's feet are bigger than even Nikola Jokic (16) and Joel Embiid (17), though he can't hold a candle to Shaquille O'Neal, whose size 22 puts everyone else to shame.

Those feet take a lot abuse, especially with his wiry legs and athletic frame. A look at Durant's injury history shows eight different stints due to ankle injuries, in addition to several injuries to his calf, Achilles and hamstrings.

The Phoenix Suns can be disappointed with their $43 million man, but they shouldn't be surprised. Durant was injured when they traded for him. He was injured last year, and the year before. He's a walking ankle injury waiting to happen, and they cashed in a lot of chips to bet on him.

They should have known to keep a spot on the bench warm for him just in case.

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