Suns update: Kevin Durant (ankle) questionable for Wednesday's game vs. Timberwolves

Duane Rankin
Arizona Republic
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Suns coach Monty Williams wouldn't confirm superstar Kevin Durant's return from injury for Wednesday's game against Minnesota at Footprint Center.

"It's always good to see a guy progressing towards getting back on the floor," said Williams after Tuesday's practice. "His work ethic has enhanced our gym. We felt like we've had a really good gym for a while."

The two-time finals MVP has missed 10 games with a left ankle sprain suffered March 8 in a pregame workout before what would’ve been his Suns home debut.

Sources informed The Republic that Durant is on course to play Wednesday. The Suns aren't scheduled to have a shootaround Wednesday morning.

"It's day-by-day," Suns All-Star Devin Booker said. "All you want to do is hoop. An injury holding you back isn't the most fun thing, but it makes you appreciate it more when you're back."

Durant wasn't made available for media interviews after Tuesday's practice. The Suns list him as questionable for Wednesday's game.

The Suns went 3-0 with Durant in the lineup, have gone 4-6 without him since, but won their last two games with the latter coming Monday at Utah.

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With Phoenix having its share of injuries this season, Williams has often talking about "checking the boxes" before having a player cleared to return.

This holds true for Durant, who was due for a re-evaluation this week.

"You have to get the pain and swelling out and all of that and then you progress onto the floor with shots," Williams said. "I've seen him go from shooting to cardio shooting to being able to get up and down a little bit and get him self prepared to go to the next level, but I'm not always around him when he's doing all that stuff."

Williams later expanded on the "checking the boxes" process that can be challenging to go through near the end of the regular season.

"Is he in a place where he can play against contact," Williams said. "Is his cardio where it needs to be. Is the fatigue level where it needs to be once he's fatigued, he's not putting himself in harm's way. I think those are the things that are hard to do this time of the year because we just don't have the practice time."

Phoenix has seven games remaining in the regular season in a 12-day span. The Suns close the regular season April 9 versus the Clippers at home.

"Every organization is built to have extra bodies so that you can play 3-on-3 and 4-on-4 and 1-on-1," Williams continued. "So those are things we have to make sure we do properly and then evaluate after that's done. So we'll get to those points."

Having worked his way back from injuries, Booker provided insight on that process in relation to checking the boxes to return to the court.

"Emulate the game the best you can," he said. "Game-like actions. Use your imagination, put yourself in game-like scenarios."

Booker later talked about the role assistants Jarrett Jack and Brian Randle play in helping players return by competing against them. Both in their late 30s, Jack played 13 NBA seasons while Randle played overseas.

"Little bit of everything, but eventually, you just have to go out there," Booker added.

Phoenix Suns forward Kevin Durant celebrates after their win against the Charlotte Hornets with guard Devin Booker in an NBA basketball game on Wednesday, March 1, 2023, in Charlotte, N.C.

The Timberwolves (39-37) are riding a four-game winning streak as they won Monday at Sacramento (45-30). The Suns lost to the Kings last Friday in Sacramento.

Fourth in the West, Phoenix is only a half game ahead of the Clippers (40-35) and just 1½ ahead of the T-Wolves, who are sixth in the West, and the defending NBA champion Warriors (39-37).

The seventh through 10th seeds will battle in the play-in tournament for the final two playoff spots in each conference.

The Pelicans (38-37), winners of five straight games, are eighth followed by the Lakers (37-38) and Thunder (37-38).

The Mavericks (37-39), who eliminated the Suns from the playoffs last season, are 11th.  

Phoenix Suns forward Kevin Durant (35) looks to set the play against the Dallas Mavericks during the second quarter at the American Airlines Center in Dallas on March 5, 2023.

Durant averaged 26.7 points in his three games with the Suns.

Phoenix traded Mikal Bridges, Cam Johnson, Jae Crowder, four first round picks and a pick swap to Brooklyn for T.J. Warren and Durant right before the Feb. 9 trade deadline.

Durant suffered a right MCL sprain Jan. 8 at Miami while playing for the Nets. He made his initial Suns debut March 1 at Charlotte.

Five of Phoenix's last seven games remaining in the regular season are at home. The Suns are 24-12 at Footprint Center this season.

Have opinion about current state of the Suns? Reach Suns Insider Duane Rankin at or contact him at 480-787-1240. Follow him on Twitter at @DuaneRankin.

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