Through the first two games of the Western Conference finals, the Warriors haven’t looked like they missed Kevin Durant, as Golden State has taken a 2-0 series lead over the Trail Blazers even without the superstar.
Golden State appears to have gotten comfortable playing without the two-time NBA Finals MVP, and it appears the squad will have even more time to adjust without Durant’s services.
Even after those two games, Durant’s availability is still unknown, and Kerr acknowledged the injury is a bit “more serious” than the team originally believed.
“It’s a little more serious than we thought.” – Steve Kerr on Kevin Durant’s calf strain pic.twitter.com/xpFKDJuRLg
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) May 17, 2019
“Hopefully he continues to progress, and he has made progress but it’s a little more serious than we thought at the very beginning,” Kerr said.
“So we’ll see where it all goes, but he’s in there all day long getting treatment. He’s done a great job of committing himself to that process. [Warriors director of sports medicine and performance] Rick [Celebrini] and his staff are in there all day, and hopefully he’ll be back at some point, but we’ll just wait and see,” he added.
Durant still hasn’t been cleared to return to on-court work, which is the first step in him returning to play. He will be re-evaluated again next Thursday, and with Game 5 (if necessary) on Wednesday, that means he won’t play in that contest if the Blazers do indeed extend the series.
ESPN’s Brian Windhorst set a more definitive timetable on Durant’s return, saying it depends on if the Blazers make this a more competitive series.
“I think you’re not seeing Kevin Durant until the Warriors are behind in this series,” Windhorst said. “If they’re never behind in this series, you’re not going to see him.
“Then they’ll re-evaluate if they advance to the Finals.”
The earliest the Warriors could trail in the series is after Game 5, which means the earliest Durant could return is Game 6, which would be played next Friday.
“Durant is still walking with a bit of a limp as he tries to recover from an injury that many in the organization initially feared was a torn Achilles tendon,” ESPN reported.
The Warriors are 7-4 this postseason with Durant in the lineup and 3-0 without his services.
Despite not yet losing without Durant, it’s pretty clear the Warriors would like to have their superstar player back as soon as possible.
“We miss him,” guard Klay Thompson said of Durant.
“I mean, that’s obvious to see. [His absence] does not change my approach. Just got to go out there and play my style of basketball and just hope for a speedy recovery. It’s unfortunate, but it’s part of the game and we’ll desperately need him to three-peat, and that’s no secret about that.”
The Warriors’ other injured star, DeMarcus Cousins, continues to rehab from an injured quad muscle, though it appears he is further along than Durant.
Cousins has progressed to on-court work but is still not yet ready for live action.
He will also be re-evaluated next week.
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