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Durant (hamstring) returns vs. Jazz; has 27 in win


Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant returned to the lineup Monday night against the Utah Jazz after missing six games with a hamstring injury.

Durant played 30 minutes and had a game-high 27 points on 10-of-13 shooting in the Thunder’s 111-89 victory. He also had six rebounds, four steals and a block.

“When I was ready to get back on the court physically, I was there putting my work in making sure my body was ready, my fundamentals were right,” Durant said. “I just have the mindset that, no matter what, I just pick up where I left off. I think that is what separates good players from great players, is that mindset.”

Thunder coach Billy Donovan said the team was careful not to rush Durant back.

“The last thing you want with a hamstring injury is for it to be a prolonged thing to deal with,” Donovan said. “The feeling was, so early in the season, let’s just get him completely recovered and feeling good. The medical staff really feels like he has made incredible progress. He’s pain free, feels good.”

Durant was not cleared to play in Sunday night’s home win over Dallas, but it was believed he would return for a game this week.

Durant suffered the injury on Nov. 10 in the first half of a Thunder victory on the road against Durant’s hometown Washington Wizards. It’s the first hamstring injury of Durant’s career after he underwent three foot surgeries last season, limiting him to 27 games.

In its six games without Durant, Oklahoma City went 3-3, with point guard Russell Westbrook averaging 32.7 points, 9.3 assists, 7.7 rebounds and 3.2 steals per game in that span.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.



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