Durant unlikely to play in Game 2 of The Finals
NBA.com Global on May 31, 2019 07:55 AM
FILE - CHARLOTTE, NC - FEBRUARY 16: Kevin Durant #35 of Team Lebron addresses the media during the 2019 NBA All-Star Practice and Media Availability on February 16, 2019 at Bojangles Coliseum in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Tom O'Connor/NBAE via Getty Images)
NBA.com staff report
Golden State Warriors star forward Kevin Durant is already ruled out for Game 1 of The Finals. His prognosis for Game 2 of the series isn't looking much better, either.
Warriors coach Steve Kerr told reporters Thursday (Friday, PHL time) that it is a "long shot" that Durant will play in Sunday's Game 2 (Monday, PHL time). Kerr wants Durant to complete a full practice on either Friday or Saturday (Saturday or Sunday, PHL time) before allowing him to play, which, at this point, seems like a difficult proposition to Kerr.
“The next step would be to practice with the team. But we don’t know when that’s going to be,” Kerr said after Thursday's (Friday, PHL time) shootaround in Toronto. “He’ll continue with the individual workouts.”
Kerr said it was a "long shot" Durant would get in a full practice in Toronto. Needless to say, he's extremely unlikely to play Game 2.— Connor Letourneau (@Con_Chron) May 30, 2019
Game 3 of The Finals is in Oakland next Wednesday (next Thursday, PHL time), giving Golden State a travel day and a practice day that could ease Durant's potential return to the mix. Durant flew with the team to continue his rehab work while also being around for team activities and meetings.
“It’s good to have Kevin here. Obviously he’s a huge part of our team and the guys are all pulling for him,” Kerr said Thursday (Friday, PHL time). “It’s such a privilege to be here and play in the NBA Finals for all of these guys. You grow up dreaming about this that you hate that anybody is injured. You want everybody to be healthy and have a lot more opportunity. More than anything, we want Kevin to be healthy, be back and enjoy at least part of the series. He’s pretty good. It wouldn’t hurt to have him back.”
Steve Kerr on how Kevin Durant is handling being out pic.twitter.com/oRLI7ZN56n— Mark Medina (@MarkG_Medina) May 30, 2019
Durant, the two-time reigning Finals MVP who has missed the past five games since getting hurt in Game 5 of the Western Conference semifinals against Houston, has already been ruled out for Game 1 with a strained right calf.
As of Tuesday (Wednesday, PHL time), when Golden State held an optional practice before flying, he had yet to do any full-speed work on the court. He has done some shooting, Kerr said.
Warriors forward Kevon Looney told Mark Medina of The Mercury News that Durant has proved valuable to the team even though he's injured.
“He’s been really helping us with the scouting reports and what kind of coverages we’re running,” Looney said. “He’s here supporting us. You know he wants to be out there really badly and is working hard to get back. We want to go out there and compete for him and try to win.”
Durant didn't travel to Houston for Game 6 of the Western Conference semifinals or to Portland for the two road games against the Trail Blazers in the Western Conference finals. He remained in the Bay Area to rehab, and the Warriors are unbeaten without him.
An impending free agent this summer, he was hurt May 8 (May 9, PHL time) when he landed awkwardly on his right foot following a baseline jumper late in the third quarter of a 104-99 victory over the Rockets at Oracle Arena. Durant is averaging 34.2 points per game this postseason.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.