OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Steve Kerr remains optimistic Kevin Durant will return from a right calf injury to play for Golden State at some point this postseason but isn’t guessing when that might be.
“There’s definitely some gray area with any injury but with a calf injury like that especially,” Kerr said Friday before the team traveled to Portland for Game 3. “It’s going to be how he responds to the treatment and how his body recovers over the next days and however long it takes.”
Warriors director of sports medicine and performance Rick Celebrini told Kerr from the time Durant was injured in Game 5 of the conference semifinals against Houston that it would be tough to predict the timetable for the two-time reigning NBA Finals MVP’s healing, based on the wide range in rehab and recovery for this injury.
Durant was re-evaluated before a 114-111 Game 2 win Thursday night and won’t play in Games 3 or 4 of the Western Conference finals at Portland, Saturday and Monday. He is likely to miss the entire series given his next scheduled examination is Thursday, and Durant has yet to do any of the on-court work such as scrimmaging full court with contact the Warriors would require before he is cleared for game action.
“He’s doing well. He’s in the training room every day, he’s around the guys. He’s actually recovering well, he’s doing well with his rehab,” Kerr said.
The Warriors lead the best-of-seven series 2-0, so if the two-time defending champions advance to a fifth straight NBA Finals there would be a chance for Durant to play again.
“What did I say last night, that it was a little more serious than we thought? The right way to put it would be with a calf injury there’s kind of a wide range of how long a guy’s going to be out,” Kerr said. “So he’s had them in the past where he was out a week or 10 days. But right from the beginning Rick was telling me that you really can’t put a number of days and weeks on this.
“There’s a big range of how long it could be depending on how he responds and how bad the strain is. This one is taking a little bit longer than the ones he’s had in the past but that’s OK. He’s coming along well and if he continues to improve at the rate he’s moving now I’m confident that he’ll be back. We just don’t know when. “
Durant’s 34.2 points per game lead all postseason scorers. An impending free agent this summer, he has missed the last three games since straining his right calf during the third quarter of Game 5 against the Rockets on May 8 and didn’t travel to Houston for the Warriors’ Game 6 clincher.
Andrew Bogut has started in Durant’s place the past three games but Kevon Looney got the majority of the playing time in Game 2 as Kerr has used a bigger rotation to take advantage of Golden State’s deep bench.
Injured Golden State center DeMarcus Cousins is slightly ahead of Durant in his recovery from a torn left quadriceps muscle that he hurt in Game 2 of the first round against the Clippers, just Cousins’ second career playoff game. He also is scheduled to be re-evaluated next Thursday.
“He’s working really hard and he’s been in the training room religiously over the last month and now he’s getting out on the court,” Kerr said. “So he is ahead of Kevin in terms of the ability to get out on the court and run and really get a good basketball workout. He’s a big guy, so conditioning is tougher for big guys than guards. He’s got to continue to work on the stuff he’s doing, which is the bike, going hard on the bike, getting sprints on the floor. When he’s ready, we’ll know he’s ready.”