OAKLAND -- After completing a full scrimmage with his teammates as well as a lively post-practice workout Friday, Kevin Durant pronounced himself fit and ready to return to the Warriors.
The 6-foot-9 forward is scheduled to be in the starting lineup Saturday night when the Warriors face the Pelicans at Oracle Arena.
“I looked at the big picture and I figured that at some point, I’d get better,” Durant said. “That day is here and I’m thankful.”
Durant missed 19 full games and nearly all of another when he sustained a sprained medial collateral ligament (MCL) and tibial bone bruise in the first minute of a Feb. 28 game against the Wizards in Washington.
“When you get banged up in that area, it’s going to take some time for you, mentally, to feel like everything is all right,” he said. “Today was one of those days where I went out there and played and practiced with the guys and I felt normal. I’ve been waiting for that feeling for a couple weeks.”
Durant returns with three games remaining in the regular season, and the playoffs looming next weekend.
“It’s great,” coach Steve Kerr said. “It’s perfect for him to get three games before the playoffs start, to get his conditioning, his timing and his rhythm. It’s good for our team because we can blend rest and rhythm.”
The team’s training staff and coaches will monitor Durant, but there is no plan for a firm restriction on playing time.
“He’s healed,” Kerr said. “His ligament is healed. So it’s really just about monitoring how he feels. If he gets fatigued, I’m going to take him out. So I don’t really have a number on the minutes played that I’m looking at.”
Durant looked frisky during his post-practice session on Friday, raining pull-up jump shots, shooting 3-pointers from all around the arc and soaring in for dunks. He did wear a brace and says he has not decided whether to wear one Saturday night.
“I’m just going to go out there and be me,” he said. “I can’t think about how I’ll feel, because I’ll end up holding back. I just want to go out there full throttle and see what happens.”