Warriors

Warriors

The moment Kevin Durant hopped around and grabbed his lower right leg last month, all of Twitter turned into doctors, proclaiming the Warriors star injured his Achilles tendon.

Relax. An actual doctor thought the same thing.

"Based on the video of the injury, I did believe that this was an Achilles tendon injury," Dr. Selene Parekh, co-founder of The Fantasy Doctors, told NBC Sports Bay Area on Monday about Durant's calf strain.

Parekh, who is co-chief of the Foot and Ankle Division at Duke University, has seen recent videos of Durant walking -- not practicing -- and offered his take on how he expects the Warriors forward to look after sources told NBC Sports Bay Area's Monte Poole that he'll play Monday night in Game 5 of the NBA Finals against the Toronto Raptors.

Right away, Parekh noted that he believes Durant still would be sidelined if this was the regular season.

"In his first game back, I think he will not be as effective," Parekh said. "He will likely decrease his speed, agility, mobility and time on the court. This will hurt his ability to go up and down the court, driving to the basket and even shooting 3-pointers."

Durant, who will play in his first game since May 8, has missed 32 days of action, and many have questioned why his absence has taken so long. But Parekh noted that calf injuries can be tricky.

 

"The calf is funny," he said. "It is big and muscular but, like the hamstring, needs time to heal. Otherwise, this becomes a nagging injury."

Warriors coach Steve Kerr will insert Durant back into the starting lineup with the team facing elimination in the best-of-seven series, and he isn't expected to put a minutes restriction on the two-time Finals MVP. That said, Durant surely will be closely monitored.

Parekh said a complete tear of the calf is rare, though the longer Durant plays, the more of a question mark his status will be.

"Given the importance of this game, look for KD to push through the pain," Parekh said. "As fatigue and dehydration set in, especially in the third and fourth quarters, he can reinjure the calf, have a more severe strain, and if his mechanics are way off ... be at risk for a tear."

Durant initially injured his calf after draining a shot. The Warriors will need plenty of Durant's shot-making as their hampered offense has suffered lately with his loss. However, cutting -- not jumping -- is what will be most difficult for Durant, according to Parekh.

[RELATED: Why it's unfair to question KD's toughness]

"That side-to-side motion depends on the calf muscle to stabilize the ankle and propel the body in the right direction," Parekh said. "He will not do this effectively."

So, yes, Kevin Durant is back, but what version of him we'll see is something only he can answer in the coming hours.