Kevin Durant on returning: 'I never thought I left'

Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports

The 2014-15 campaign wasn't kind to Oklahoma City Thunder All-Star Kevin Durant, with the 26-year-old forward missing all but 27 games during the regular season after a right foot injury required him to go under the knife multiple times.

It was the first time in his young career that he was forced to the sidelines for an extended period of time, having never missed more than 16 games before in a season. Even though he was physically unable to compete, the 2014 NBA Most Valuable Player doesn't feel like he was ever really away from the game.

"I never thought I left," Durant said at media day Monday, according to ESPN's Royce Young.

The Thunder put up a valiant effort in Durant's absence, finishing the year with a 45-37 record, narrowly missing out on a postseason berth for the first time in six years. It was tough for the players to watch another team hoist the Larry O'Brien trophy, especially Durant, who yearned to get back out on the floor and challenge the rest of the Western Conference's elite.

"It sucked," Durant said about watching the postseason unfold without his team. "I hated seeing someone else win."

Durant has never been short of confidence, recently referring to himself as "the best player in the world," despite having not played in so long. Now that he's back in the fold, the six-time All-Star is prepared to reestablish himself among the top of the NBA's pecking order.

"I feel great. I'm ready to go ... exciting times for myself and Thunder basketball," Durant said.

Oklahoma City was 18-9 with Durant in the lineup. He averaged 25.4 points, 6.6 rebounds, and 4.1 assists on 51 percent shooting.

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Kevin Durant on returning: 'I never thought I left'
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