December 2, 2014 / 10:03 PM / 4 years ago

Durant cleared to make return to Thunder lineup

Oct 29, 2014; Portland, OR, USA; Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant (35) dribbles a ball on the bench while wearing a boot on his leg before a game against the Portland Trail Blazers at the Moda Center. Mandatory Credit: Craig Mitchelldyer-USA TODAY Sports

(Reuters) - Reigning NBA Most Valuable Player Kevin Durant said on Tuesday he enjoyed being a “cheerleader” while recovering from a broken foot but is excited to finally be returning to the Oklahoma City Thunder lineup.

Durant, who missed Oklahoma City’s first 17 games of the 2014-15 season, has been given the green light to return to his team’s lineup later on Tuesday when the Thunder visit the New Orleans Pelicans.

“I’m just excited to get back out there with my teammates,” Durant told reporters. “It was a long 6-1/2 trying to get better and get my foot right.”

Durant’s return after surgery for a right foot fracture cannot come quickly enough for last year’s Western Conference finalists, who are off to a 5-12 start on the season.

Durant, who starred on the gold medal-winning U.S. 2012 London Olympic team, has won the NBA scoring champion four times and is a five-times All-Star.

Last season he averaged 32 points, 7.4 rebounds and 5.5 assists for a Thunder team that was two wins shy of reaching the NBA Finals.

“I’m looking forward to seeing how I am and playing as hard as I can for my team,” said Durant. “I know the coaches and my teammates are going to be happy we’re off the bench.”

Reporting by Andrew Both in Cary, North Carolina; Editing by Frank Pingue

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