The basketball world is asking itself: “How many more injuries can Golden State handle?” From stars as big as Klay Thompson (hamstring) to reserves like Kevon Looney (upper body), the Warriors are quickly turning into the walking wounded.
Of course, the biggest speculation is when Kevin Durant will return from his calf strain suffered during the Western Conference semifinals against the Houston Rockets. With Golden State tied with the Raptors at one game apiece heading into Game 3 on Wednesday (9pm EST, ABC), head coach Steve Kerr is running out of bullets.
Caron Butler suggested on ESPN’s “Get Up” that Durant should still play even if he’s not 100 percent. The former NBA player stated that even at 70 percent, Durant is still an All-Star.
“70% of Kevin Durant is a perennial all-star on this stage,” he said. “I think that is enough to get (the Warriors) over the hump.”
Jay Williams agreed from across the debate table, stating that Durant at 70 percent is still a top-10 player in the league.
“Even it’s a matter of spacing,” the former Duke Blue Devil star said, “Just his ability to knock down shots is still better than what you have with Alfonzo McKinnie.”
Here’s the latest on Durant’s timeline to return.
Kevin Durant Timeline to Return to NBA Finals
According to Kerr, the All-Star is still working through his injury during individual practice workouts and shootarounds. He confirmed that Durant will sit for Game 3 as the series returns to the Bay Area.
Our own Jeff Smith talked about the effect this has on Golden State’s lineup:
While both Cousins and Iguodala should be out there and ready to roll for the next game, Durant could return in one of the next two games, assuming he’s able to take big steps forward.
There’s nothing concrete that points to Durant’s timeline, but if he were to remain sidelined and Thompson was unable to go, the offensive load would fall heavily on Cousins and Stephen Curry. Iguodala and Draymond Green would also continue to log heavy minutes, with the former likely seeing the biggest boost of the bunch. Beyond that, Quinn Cook, who played 21 minutes and scored nine points in Game 2, would also be incredibly busy next game.
This recovery process has gone way past the recommended seven to 10-day timeline for a Grade I strain. As 26-year NFL trainer Mike Ryan suggests, though, a longer recovery is necessary to prevent further damage if the strain is Grade II or worse.
When you think the athlete’s calf is ready to return to full speed with no limitations, give the healing calf one more week. Your calf will thank you.
It seems that Durant will play at least once in ORACLE Arena, as he should hit the court again in the next one to two games. With the Warriors stealing a game in Toronto, it bought more time for them to nurse Durant back to health in time for a late push towards the title.