May 14, 2016
CHICAGO — Caris LeVert faces an uncertain future, as he tries to overcome a string of foot injuries throughout his Michigan career and emerge healthy to begin his time in the NBA.
So some encouragement from one of the NBA’s best — who has traveled the road LeVert is now on — was meaningful to him.
LeVert said he recently had a chance to meet Oklahoma City Thunder star Kevin Durant, a benefit of the two sharing an agency, Roc Nation.
The two have plenty in common. Durant suffered a Jones fracture to his foot in 2014. LeVert suffered the same injury last season, and it cost him most of the year.
LeVert was operated on by orthopedic surgeon Martin O’Malley of New York, the same doctor who performed Durant’s operation in 2014.
Durant returned healthy from the injury, and was was able to provide some reassurance to LeVert that he can do the same.
“He just said ‘Once Doc finishes with you, you’ll be like brand new,'” LeVert said on Friday at the NBA draft combine. “He told me just to stay with the course, it’s a long process, but just stay with it, don’t get anxious.”
The fact that Durant, of all NBA players, provided that assurance was particularly meaningful. LeVert’s nickname in high school was “Baby Durant”, for the resemblance in the game the two share.
“It felt good,” LeVert said. “He’s definitely one of my favorite players growing up.”
LeVert currently has a boot on his left foot, after undergoing surgery following the season. He expects to be in that boot for another four weeks, and won’t be able to do full basketball activities until this summer.
That’s left him trying to convince NBA teams he’s worth of a pick, without being able to work out for them. But he’s hoping that down the road that the adversity turns into a positive.
“I feel like I’m a lot more mature than some people are,” LeVert said. “I went through the foot injuries, as well as other things, that have kept me grounded.”