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SportWarriors running low on time for Kevin Durant’s return

07:05  07 june  2019
07:05  07 june  2019 Source:   sfchronicle.com

Is it possible Kevin Durant has played his last Warriors game?

Is it possible Kevin Durant has played his last Warriors game? Have we already seen Kevin Durant in a Warriors uniform for the final time? Is the next time we see Durant when he comes to San Francisco with Team X, for a regular-season game, and perhaps to collect his championship ring? A ring he would have won without ever playing in the 2019 NBA Finals? That scenario seemed like a real possibility with the news that Durant, who was re-evaluated by the team Thursday morning, has not yet been cleared for on-court activities. He has been declared “unlikely” for at least Game 1 of the Finals against either Milwaukee or Toronto next Thursday.

3of8 Kevin Durant takes a pass from assistant coach Bruce Fraser at a Golden State Warriors practice session in Oakland, Calif. on Tuesday, April 23, 2019 But with Game 4 looming Friday and Durant yet to practice, Golden State is running low on time . Warriors owner Joe Lacob says he expects to

Kerr said Durant had “no setbacks” and may have “misspoke” Wednesday when he indicated Durant would stage either a 5-on-5 or 3-on-3 scrimmage as “the next There’ s a recent theory if the Warriors lose in the Finals and KD can’t make it back, he would be more apt to return to try to collect a third ring.

Warriors running low on time for Kevin Durant’s return
Warriors running low on time for Kevin Durant’s return
Warriors running low on time for Kevin Durant’s return
Warriors running low on time for Kevin Durant’s return
Warriors running low on time for Kevin Durant’s return
Warriors running low on time for Kevin Durant’s return
Warriors running low on time for Kevin Durant’s return
Warriors running low on time for Kevin Durant’s return

Nearly a month after the Warriors dubbed forward Kevin Durant’s right calf strain “mild,” they have yet to clear Durant to scrimmage — much less play an NBA Finals game.

One Way or Another, Kevin Durant Will Dominate the Finals

One Way or Another, Kevin Durant Will Dominate the Finals The Warriors looked just fine without Kevin Durant in the conference finals, but the Raptors have proven a stiffer challenge. Can Golden State overcome the 0-1 deficit? It all comes down to KD.

The Warriors are better with Kevin Durant , but some adjustments await. That falls in line with what happened during Durant ’ s post-season run . It all started when Kerr called on Without Durant ’ s unstoppable shot anywhere on the court, the Warriors figured they could not just manufacture offense

The Golden State Warriors lost Game 1 of the NBA Finals Thursday night in Toronto, and the team may be without superstar Kevin Durant for Game 2 on Sunday night. Durant traveled with the team to Canada for the start of the series

The lingering uncertainty surrounding the two-time Finals MVP’s health has left some within the organization questioning whether they’ll see Durant — an unrestricted free agent this summer — in a Golden State uniform again. Asked Thursday when he expects Durant to participate in a scrimmage, Warriors head coach Steve Kerr was vague, saying only, “I think that’s something that will happen in the coming days.”

This news came a day after Kerr had announced plans for Durant to complete a series of scrimmages Thursday against some of Golden State’s assistant coaches and younger players. After contradicting that report, Kerr admitted that “I probably misspoke last night” and “sometimes I might answer something that doesn’t jibe perfectly with what the training staff saw that morning.”

Steph Curry, Warriors ready for Raptors' 'janky' defense in Game 3

Steph Curry, Warriors ready for Raptors' 'janky' defense in Game 3 The Golden State guard used the term to define the box-and-one defense the Raptors used on him - to great effect - during Game 2 of the NBA Finals.

Golden State Warriors All-Star Kevin Durant has been out for some time with a strained calf. Durant suffered the injury during Round 2 of the Warriors ’ NBA Playoffs matchup against the Houston Rockets. Many believed that it was an Achilles injury, but the diagnosis has been set at a strained calf.

Warriors forward Kevin Durant wrote a poetic story in his first game in Seattle since playing for the former Sonics his rookie season 11 years ago. Those fans would see an NBA game at Key Arena for the first time since the former Sonics franchise moved to Oklahoma City following Durant ’ s rookie

Few can blame Kerr for getting confused. In the four weeks since Durant strained his right calf in Game 5 of the Western Conference semifinals against Houston, the Warriors have publicly voiced optimism that he’d return during these playoffs, only for Durant to remain on the inactive list.

Before Sunday night’s loss to the Raptors in Game 3 of the NBA Finals, Golden State majority owner Joe Lacob told ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith on SportsCenter that he expects Durant to return in the series, going as far as to say he’s “as serious as a heart attack.” But with Game 4 looming Friday and Durant yet to practice, Golden State is running low on time.

If the Warriors — down 2-1 — drop Games 4 and 5 to Toronto, their season will end Monday night. Durant, who has already been ruled out of Game 4, would have to fly to Toronto with the team Saturday and scrimmage enough by Monday morning to be cleared for Game 5.

Stephen Curry does it all — and proves he can’t do it alone in Warriors loss

Stephen Curry does it all — and proves he can’t do it alone in Warriors loss He can do it all, but he can’t do it alone. That was the early Raptors scouting report on Stephen Curry for Game 3. No he couldn’t. But he damn well tried. Curry led his depleted team into Game 3 of the NBA Finals as the only serious scoring threat on the Warriors. And despite being the total focal point of Toronto’s defense, Curry set a personal postseason best with 47 points. It wasn’t enough. The Warriors lost, 123-109. And now the Raptors have taken a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven series and have regained home-court advantage. Game 4 is Friday in Oakland, and it could be the final game at Oracle Arena.

OAKLAND — Kevin Durant wasted no time re-introducing himself to the Warriors , Oracle Arena and the rest of the NBA Saturday night. He basically appeared like he trying to re-acclimate his way through a real NBA game for the first time in five weeks. But Durant definitely got better as the game

Kevin Durant ’ s return : A sports medicine specialist shares what to expect. Golden State Warriors ' Kevin Durant (35) shares a laugh with Golden State Warriors ' Quinn Cook (4) during a Golden State Warriors guard Klay Thompson credits his time at Washington State for life-long friendships and his

That is far from a guarantee, given how slowly his rehab has progressed. It took Durant three weeks after getting injured to begin individual on-court work. Even if he is cleared after just one scrimmage, Durant might be a bit out of shape after having sat out five-plus weeks. Will he be on a minutes restriction when he comes back? How could that affect the rotation?

There is also a question over how smoothly Durant would re-adjust to the Warriors’ system.

Because the Warriors aren’t practicing much these days, Durant’s scrimmages will be limited to seldom-used reserves, two-way-contract players, assistant coaches and support staffers. After more than a month running its movement-heavy, up-tempo offense, Golden State might need a game or two to re-incorporate one of the best isolation scorers in NBA history.

Ideally, the Warriors would have brought back Durant early in the Finals to ease him into the rotation without fear that a loss would end their season. Now, if Durant returns for Game 5, he could face the burden of an elimination game.

The good news for the Warriors is that Klay Thompson, who missed Game 3 with a strained left hamstring, is expected back Friday. Center Kevon Looney was initially ruled out for the rest of the Finals after he suffered a chest injury in Game 2, but Golden State is now leaving open the possibility of him returning at some point in the series.

Ecstasy and agony for the Warriors and Kevin Durant

Ecstasy and agony for the Warriors and Kevin Durant TORONTO — Steve Kerr decided to open Game 5 of the NBA Finals with the Death Lineup, a decision that would add drama to Kevin Durant’s return to duty. As if easing into a role, Durant got off the Warriors’ team bus and walked slowly through the arena hallway with his head bent down, black hoodie pulled up, solemn expression on his face, the very vision of the Grim Reaper. Although the Grim Reaper probably wouldn’t — as Durant did — break into the KD tunnel dance, his pregame ritual when the team gathers outside the locker room before storming the court. BOX SCORE: WARRIORS 106, RAPTORS 105 Once on the court, more dancing.

However, Thompson wasn’t being hyperbolic when he proclaimed last month that “we desperately need (Durant) back” if “we want to get this three-peat.” The Warriors’ room for error is slim, at best, without Durant. As the Finals’ first three games illustrated, the Raptors are capable of quelling Golden State’s offense and forcing mistakes.

Durant was not only the Warriors’ second-leading scorer this season (26 per game), he’s also a long, savvy defensive option against Raptors forwards Kawhi Leonard and Pascal Siakam.

Under the 2-2-1-1-1 playoff format, lower seeds that trailed 2-1 in a best-of-seven series have come back to win the series just 12.5 percent of the time. Durant would go a long way in helping make long odds look manageable.

But he first must get cleared, which remains a tricky proposition. Dr. Kenneth Jung — a foot and ankle surgeon at Cedars-Sinai’s Kerlan-Jobe Institute in Los Angeles — said that MRI results for calf injuries shouldn’t be taken as doctrine, which is why the Warriors’ description of Durant’s strain as “mild” might have been misleading.

What matters most is how the player responds to treatment. Durant’s rehab has progressed at such a slow rate because, a month removed from the injury, he still feels some pain.

“If he feels tightness or soreness back there, I’d imagine you’d have to kind of approach it in a guarded fashion,” Jung said. “If he’s already having tightness and he’s out there on the court, there’s a higher chance that he could re-aggravate or re-strain the calf.”

How Kevin Durant's injury alters the NBA landscape — this summer and beyond

How Kevin Durant's injury alters the NBA landscape — this summer and beyond Kevin Durant's injury could have a ripple effect throughout the NBA, from the Warriors to free agency to the record books.

This doesn’t bode well for those still hoping that Durant will be back for Game 5. Although Lacob might be as “serious as a heart attack” about Durant returning, Warriors players are moving forward as if Durant won’t suit up again.

Anything else would be a welcome surprise.

“Everybody in the world, on our side, is going to welcome him back when he’s ready, but only when he’s ready,” guard Shaun Livingston said. “So until then, we got to go out there like he’s not playing.”

Connor Letourneau is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. Email: cletourneau@sfchronicle.com. Twitter: @Con_Chron

Related slideshow: 2019 NBA Finals (Provided by imagn)

Warriors running low on time for Kevin Durant’s return
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