The Warriors’ official line is that Kevin Durant’s status for Game 6 of the Western Conference semifinals is up the air pending results of an MRI exam on Thursday.
Coach Steve Kerr is more realistic.
“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.”
Durant, 30, left the Warriors’ Game 5 victory Wednesday against the Rockets with what the team described as a right calf strain.
TNT’s Allie LaForce confirmed that depending on the MRI exam’s results it’s still up in the air whether Durant would even travel with the Warriors to Houston for Game 6 Friday.
— NBA on TNT (@NBAonTNT) May 9, 2019
As of late morning on the West Coast, the Warriors had not made any announcement regarding the results of the MRI exam.
Durant 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
On the bright side for Golden State: They’re up 3-2 in the series after Wednesday’s 104-99 victory. If Durant can’t play Friday, then at least they’re a game up with the homecourt advantage if the series goes to a deciding Game 7. The next question would be, if Durant can’t play Friday could he be ready for that Game 7 on Sunday?
“Maybe he can bounce back soon, and we can win another game in this series and move forward and maybe get him back,” Kerr told NBC Sports Bay Area after the game. “But we’ll see how it all pans out.”
The down side: 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.
The Warriors later announced Durant suffered a right calf strain.
Kevin Durant (right calf strain) will not return to tonight’s game.
— Warriors PR (@WarriorsPR) May 9, 2019
Kerr confirmed that Durant would undergo the MRI on Thursday.
Kerr says KD will have an MRI on Thursday. Unclear at this point if he will be able to travel to Houston.
— Nick Friedell (@NickFriedell) May 9, 2019
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.