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Kevin Durant's return up in the air after more foot soreness

The reigning MVP did not practice Thursday and his return date is very much up in the air.

After it seemed he was on a clear path to recovery, Kevin Durant missed practice Thursday and has been ruled out of Friday's game against the Hawks with ongoing soreness in his surgically-repaired right foot.

Durant last played Feb. 19 after undergoing a minor procedure intended to relieve the soreness with a screw that had been inserted when he originally broke his foot before the season. The Thunder indicated he would be back by now and Durant had increased his workouts last week before he missed this practice. While Thunder coach Scott Brooks didn't call it a setback, Durant's delayed return doesn't bode well for the rest of his season.

"Experiencing a little bit of soreness," Brooks told ESPN. "That's expected. We have some peaks and valleys, and we always have a cautious approach, so today he didn't do anything."

Before the season when Durant first had the injury, there was concern that he could re-injure it by coming back too soon. Durant returned ahead of schedule, re-injured the foot and now has only played 27 games this season with the complications that are now threatening his season.

The Thunder recently suffered another blow with Serge Ibaka missing the next four to six weeks. If Durant can't return soon, Oklahoma City's narrow one-game lead on New Orleans may be in jeopardy in this season's final month.