The Golden State Warriors were able to close out the Houston Rockets and then sweep the Portland Trail Blazers in the NBA playoffs without Kevin Durant. While the star forward suffered a calf strain which was expected to keep him out until at least the 2019 NBA Finals, his status and timeline remain a major question mark.
After Durant was ruled out for Game 1 of the series against the Toronto Raptors, fans held out hope for a potential Game 2 return. But with the second matchup in Toronto just days away, and set to be played on Sunday, June 2, there’s concern over his chances to be able to return at that point.
Kevin Durant Injury Update: Game 3 or 4 Return Expected
In some very positive news which came the morning after the Warriors’ Game 1 loss, Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports reported that Durant is expected to return in this series. Specifically, he cited that it’ll be at the midway point, with some believing Game 3 is possible, but Game 4 as the more likely outcome.
There’s some optimism within members of the organization that a Game 3 arrival could be viable, but there’s a stronger possibility that Game 4 is the most logical option, sources said.
Haynes also pointed out that while Durant was cleared to take part for individual on-court work, he already started it earlier this week. The report goes on to state that the Warriors star has “three or four days” of on-court work under his belt (as of Friday) and that teammates are “encouraged by his progress.”
UPDATE: As Warriors coach Steve Kerr stated during Game 2 media availability, Durant will not play in the second matchup against the Raptors, per the NBA.
Kevin Durant Called ‘Longshot’ to Return for Game 2 of NBA Finals
Prior to the opening game against the Raptors, ESPN’s Nick Friedell revealed that Kerr called Durant a “longshot” to play in Game 2. This can’t be considered overly surprising, as there doesn’t appear to be a massive amount of improvement in his injury status.
But diving a bit deeper into the situation shows just how far Durant may actually be from returning to action. According to Drew Shiller of NBC Sports, Kerr told KNBR 680 that the forward hasn’t practiced with the team and has only been on the court taking shots on his own recently.
“He was on the court today taking some shots — just basically on his own, nothing with the team,” Golden State head coach Steve Kerr said Wednesday evening on KNBR 680. “And he’s been ramping up his rehab. He’s coming along really well, but he’s sort of in a race against the clock.
“We’ve already announced he won’t play tomorrow and considering Game 2 is Sunday and he hasn’t practiced with the team, you know — it’s pretty doubtful that he’ll play Game 2.”
Shiller goes on to point out that Kerr says the Warriors will “hopefully” get Durant back at some point in the series.
Kevin Durant Walking With Limp Late Last Week
When Durant spoke with the media less than one week before Game 1, on Friday, May 24, some interesting information came to light. According to The Athletic’s Anthony Slater, the Warriors star was spotted walking with a limp still. It’s unknown if he’s been able to progress beyond that and do any type of jogging or running recently.
Slater and The Athletic revealed a video of Durant talking about his injury and he pointed out that this felt “different” than other calf injuries he’s suffered. Specifically, he stated that it was worse than the previous ones.
Game 1 of the NBA Finals was just beyond the three-week mark since Durant suffered the injury. A potential timeline of four-to-six weeks is believed to be fairly realistic, which would leave his return anywhere from Game 3 to missing the entire NBA Finals. If the series between the Warriors and Raptors were to go to seven games, the final matchup is slated for June 16, which is roughly five and a half weeks after the initial injury.