(Reuters) - Kevin Durant, the NBA’s reigning most valuable player, will miss the rest of the season as he needs another foot surgery, dealing a blow to the Oklahoma City Thunder’s playoff hopes, the team said on Friday.
The six-time All-Star will have surgery on his ailing right foot next week and is expected to return to basketball activities in four to six months, according to the Thunder.
His loss is a massive blow for a Thunder team hanging onto the final playoff seed in the Western Conference, three games ahead of ninth-place Phoenix, with 10 games to play.
Durant, who had averaged 25.4 points, 6.6 rebounds and 4.1 assists in 27 games this season, had surgery last month to alleviate soreness in his foot caused by a screw that was inserted in October during a procedure to repair a fracture at the base of his small toe.
But after he visited two specialists this past week and held several conference calls with a specialist team, it was determined that the fracture, which had shown significant healing previously, was demonstrating signs of regression.
“The bone graft is the standard procedure for the five to eight percent of Jones fracture surgeries that do not initially have success or experience setbacks sometime within the recovery period,” the Thunder said in a statement.
“While everyone is disappointed that Kevin falls into that group, we are encouraged that the bone graft procedure has historically demonstrated long-term health and stability.”
The news comes one week after the team said Durant, 26, had been shut down indefinitely due to problems with his surgically repaired right foot.
Durant, a four-time NBA scoring champion who starred on the gold medal-winning U.S. team at the 2012 Olympic Games, had been inching his way toward a return before the team removed him from basketball activities last week.
He had been intensifying his on-court workouts from light shooting to 3-on-3 drills even though the soreness from earlier in the season was not resolved.
Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto; Editing by Gene Cherry