Steve Kerr already had resigned himself to Kevin Durant missing Game 6 of the Warriors’ Western Conference semifinal series against the Rockets with an injury, but it appears a potential Game 7 return is also out.
The Warriors said Thursday that an MRI exam confirmed Durant suffered a strained right calf during Game 5 Wednesday night. Durant will not travel with the team to Houston for Game 6 and will be reevaluated next week, effectiving sidelining him for the rest of the series.
Kevin Durant injury update: pic.twitter.com/M4oQBpLPyq
— Warriors PR (@WarriorsPR) May 9, 2019
Durant, 30, appeared to suffer the injury late in the third quarter after attempting a mid-range jump shot. He landed awkwardly, without any contact, and then reached for his lower leg.
Kevin Durant goes to the locker room after suffering an apparent non-contact injury on lower leg pic.twitter.com/JCLv3szwz8
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) May 9, 2019
Kerr was blunt about the injury Wednesday night even as the team kept things open-ended: “He’s not going to play Game 6,” Kerr told The Athletic. “We can all pretend and just say he’s doubtful. But he’s not playing Game 6.”
On the bright side for the Warriors: They’re up 3-2 in the series after Wednesday’s 104-99 victory.
The down side: TNT’s Allie LaForce reported that depending on the severity of the strain, there is a chance Durant’s recovery could take 2-3 weeks. Even if the two-time defending champions advance, that’s a big hole in their offense and rotation for a relatively lengthy period this time of year.
“Next man up,” Warriors guard Klay Thompson said (via the San Francisco Chronicle). “If we need to have him take off a game, we will, ’cause we need him healthy; we plan on playing for a long time. So, we desperately need him if we wanna win a championship, but we can win one game without him. I have confidence in this group.”
After he was injured, Durant limped off the court and back to the locker room. He scored 22 points and added five rebounds in 32 minutes before exiting.
Durant has been fantastic so far this postseason. He entered Wednesday averaging 35.4 points while shooting 51.8% from the field and 42.9% from 3-point range in the playoffs.