Shams Charania of The Athletic gave Suns and NBA fans alike some encouraging news via Twitter:
Kevin Durant and the Phoenix Suns are targeting his Suns debut and return to action in next Wednesday's road game against the Charlotte Hornets, league sources tell @TheAthletic @Stadium. Durant is on cusp of return from MCL sprain that he suffered on Jan. 8.— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) February 22, 2023
Durant, a 2023 NBA All-Star, was traded from the Brooklyn Nets to Phoenix along with T.J. Warren in exchange for Mikal Bridges, Cameron Johnson, Jae Crowder and several future draft picks at the NBA Trade Deadline.
The Suns have been plagued with injuries for much of the season. Star guard Devin Booker missed 21 consecutive games from Dec. 27 to Feb. 4, in which the Suns went 10-11 in that span. Chris Paul has only played 39 of their 60 games this season. Standout sixth man Cam Payne has missed 32 games. These key absences contributed to Phoenix plummeting in the standings.
In comes Durant, joining his star cast of Booker — who recently returned from injury — along with Paul and Deandre Ayton, in what many are labeling a championship or bust season.
Behind Durant, the Suns are projected to post one of the most potent offenses in the league. Booker has been synonymous with first-quarter scoring, ranking among the league leaders in said category over the last four seasons. This year, Durant stands No. 4 in that department with 9.3 points per first quarter and Booker ranks No. 7 at 8.1 points per opening quarter. Both volume scorers will look to pile on early, giving Monty Williams’ troops convincing leads to hold on to.
Phoenix has 22 games remaining. They are currently situated as the No. 5 seed in the Western Conference with a 32-28 record. They are only three games above the No. 12 seeded Portland Trail Blazers. However, they’ve gone 7-3 in their last 10 games, giving Durant momentum to feed off of upon his return.