Durant-less Thunder play host to Pacers

(SportsNetwork.com) - The Oklahoma City Thunder will be without star Kevin Durant for some time because of a nagging foot issue and look to stay on track when they host the Indiana Pacers Tuesday.

Durant recently underwent a minor procedure to help reduce pain and discomfort in his surgically repaired right foot. The Thunder released a statement on Durant's status and timetable for return.

"As we have conveyed, Kevin has experienced increased soreness in his right foot recently and as a result we initiated a process to determine the best way to manage it moving forward," said OKC general manager and executive vice president Sam Presti. "In order to alleviate that discomfort, it was determined after consultation with Dr. Robert Anderson, and after receiving a second opinion from Dr. Martin O'Malley, that because the fracture itself has continued to heal as anticipated, there was an opportunity to address irritation from the screw, and make an adjustment to a different piece of hardware within the foot to relieve the symptoms of his soreness.

"The fracture itself is healing excellently by all accounts and we continue to feel good about the prognosis moving forward, but in the short term as he continued to have this discomfort, we wanted to determine the best way to alleviate it while still promoting the continued healing of the initial injury. He is expected to be re-evaluated within a week to determine when he will return this regular season."

Durant missed his 29th game of the season in Sunday's 119-94 victory over the Denver Nuggets and was sidelined the first six weeks recovering from the original surgery. He also missed time with an ankle injury and balky toe.

Durant is averaging 25.4 points, 6.6 rebounds and 4.1 assists in 27 games.

In the win over the Nuggets, Russell Westbrook recorded 21 points, 17 assists and eight rebounds. Enes Kanter and Serge Ibaka scored 20 points apiece for the Thunder, who have won six in a row and eight of nine games. OKC, which used a 20-2 run in the first quarter to pull away, shot 52.2 percent for the game and got 17 points from Dion Waiters.

"I like the group, like their spirit," Thunder coach Scott Brooks said. "They're playing for each other. We need to continue to improve."

OKC has won four in a row and 11 of the past 12 at home.

After hosting the Pacers, Oklahoma City will hit the road for three games against Phoenix, Portland and the LA Lakers.

Indiana has been playing well of late with three straight wins and six in the last seven tries. The Pacers are coming off Sunday's impressive 104-98 win over the mighty Warriors, as Rodney Stuckey pumped in 30 points off the bench.

Stuckey has scored 30 points in back-to-back games for the first time in his career. He is averaging 21.8 ppg in his last five games.

C.J. Miles had 13 points, and both C.J. Watson and George Hill added 12 for the Pacers, who made 48.1 percent for the game and held Golden State to just 38.2 percent shooting. It was only Golden State's second game of the season with a shooting percentage under 40 percent.

"I'm happy with how we're playing," Pacers coach Frank Vogel said. "We're starting to play better but we still have a lot of work to do."

Vogel earned his 190th career head coaching victory on Sunday night, tying him with Larry Brown for the most coaching wins in franchise history.

The Pacers have scored 100 or more points in eight of the last 11 games, going 8-0 in those contests, and are 16-6 this season when reaching the century mark in scoring.

Indiana has won four in a row on the road and is 11-19 as the guest, It will play four straight and eight of nine games at home after this visit to OKC.

The Pacers and Thunder will play the first of two meetings this season and are scheduled to tangle April 12 in Indy. Oklahoma City has won five of the previous seven matchups between the teams.