Complications from a foot injury forced Kevin Durant to sit out the end of the NBA's regular season. Meanwhile, he had to watch his Oklahoma City Thunder come up one win short of making the NBA playoffs.

Durant had a lot of praise to dish out for his team, particularly star teammate Russell Westbrook. Durant told reporters he admired all the growth Westbrook showed, in terms of leadership and athletic dominance, as the Thunder chased a playoff spot without Durant's help.

It was a good run, even if the team was a little overmatched. At any rate, the NBA playoffs will begin this weekend. And they will do so with a notable absence among its spectators.

Well then.

It's possible Durant is just putting on a front -- after all, it's strange that a global basketball superstar would ignore the two months of playoff basketball that was about to commence in his own league. Durant's still a basketball player who loves the game and has friends playing for other teams.

Even if the Thunder had made it, the team would have been facing a buzzsaw in the first round, matched up with the Golden State Warriors -- a team that only turned in the 10th-best regular season in NBA history. Oklahoma City was going down in flames before May Day, it was just a matter of when.

But give Durant some credit for sticking by his team as he sat idly by. Westbrook's ascension as an MVP candidate could have been a source of friction between the two stars, but Durant -- at least outwardly -- couldn't be any happier. He sounds eager to get back with the team and work toward a title next season.

In the meantime, he can watch hockey.

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