Warriors

Kevin Durant injury: Warriors star has calf strain, re-evaluated next week

Kevin Durant injury: Warriors star has calf strain, re-evaluated next week

The expected has become a reality.

After Kevin Durant left the Warriors' Game 5 win over the Houston Rockets with a right calf injury, most doubted the two-time NBA Finals MVP's ability to return for Friday's Game 6. The Warriors confirmed that Thursday, saying an MRI showed Durant has a right calf strain, and he will not travel with the team to Houston.

Durant will be re-evaluated next week, according to the team.

ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski broke the news of Durant's diagnosis shortly before the Warriors' statement, and called it "a mild calf strain." Wojnarowski reported that Durant possibly could return for the Western Conference finals should the Dubs advance.

If the Rockets and Warriors need to play a Game 7 on Sunday, Durant would not be available.

Warriors coach Steve Kerr told The Athletic's Tim Kawakami on Wednesday night that Durant would not play in Game 6.

"He's not going to play Game 6," Kerr told Kawakami. "We can all pretend and just say he's doubtful. But he's not playing Game 6."

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The Warriors currently hold a 3-2 lead in the NBA playoff second-round series, but they now will be tasked with closing out the best-of-seven set without their best player.

With Steph Curry also banged up and DeMarcus Cousins out with a quad injury, it will take all the Warriors have to brush the Rockets aside and move on to the Western Conference finals.

Warriors' Steph Curry participates in drills, inching closer to return

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USATSI

Warriors' Steph Curry participates in drills, inching closer to return

SAN FRANCISCO -- After a full month of increasingly intense individual workouts, Stephen Curry on Tuesday joined his Warriors teammates on the practice court for the first time since last October.

That wasn’t quite enough for Curry, though, as he then stayed behind for individual shooting drills after most of the Warriors had wrapped up their sessions and headed for the showers.

The only indication that Curry’s return is not imminent was his attire. He was the only player wearing a red jersey, signifying “no contact” status.

“We were calling him Tom Brady today,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said after the team’s first practice after the All-Star break. “Don’t touch Steph.”

“But he took part in everything, other than our scrimmage. We scrimmaged at the end, and he didn’t do that. But he took part in everything else and he’s looking great.”

Though there is no official date for Curry’s return -- he underwent surgery to repair a fracture of the second metacarpal of his left hand -- the Warriors are scheduled to issue an update on March 1. If all goes well, it’s conceivable Curry would immediately begin scrimmaging, with a possible return a few days later.

Asked about Klay Thompson’s status, Kerr indicated he’s not expecting Curry’s sidekick to return this season.

“With Steph, there’s a definite timetable,” Kerr said. “It’s easy to look and say that in a couple weeks, Steph is going to be ready to play. I don’t know exactly what day.

“But Klay is a long way from that. I don’t even entertain any thoughts of Klay playing this year.”

While Thompson is rehabbing a surgically repaired torn ACL, which often requires a year or more before making a full recovery, Curry met all recovery benchmarks in the wake of fracturing his left hand on Oct. 30.

Curry was able to participate in defensive drills, skill work and some offensive scripting, Kerr said. He will be limited Wednesday when the team goes through its next practice.

The last step for Curry will be to endure one or two live scrimmages.

“I don’t know when he’s going to be allowed to scrimmage,” Kerr said. “It’s not this week or anything. But he looks really good. He’s gaining strength, gaining confidence. He has been putting himself through some brutal workouts, so his conditioning is about as good as it can possibly be for somebody who hasn’t been able to scrimmage.”

There has been a measure of debate within the NBA community about whether it’s wise for Curry to return to a team bound for the draft lottery. Kerr is focused on the obvious benefits, even if it’s 15 to 20 games.

“It’s going to be a different role for him,” he said. “He only got three games before his injury. It’s important for him to feel the difference. It feels different for us. With all these young guys we’re trying to teach them on the fly, a lot of things that we’ve taken for granted over the last five years, we can’t take for granted anymore. Steph needs to feel that.”

[RELATED: Light years 2.0: Lacob says Dubs 're-imagining the dynasty']

The Warriors have 27 games remaining. After March 1, that number drops to 21. Their final 20 begins with a four-game homestand from March 5 to March 12. Assuming there are no setbacks, it’s likely Curry will return during that stretch.

Warriors 're-imagining the dynasty' during down season, Joe Lacob says

Warriors 're-imagining the dynasty' during down season, Joe Lacob says

The Warriors, with their 12-43 record, are behind every team in the NBA this season. But team owner Joe Lacob still is finding ways to be "light years ahead" again. 

While Golden State is hoping to win every game, Lacob admits the front office has a lot of focus on free agency and the NBA draft. After five straight trips to the Finals, the Dubs are looking at a top draft pick this June. 

It won't be this year, but Lacob and the rest of the Warriors have their eyes on the Larry O'Brien Trophy in the very near future

“The great thing about this is we can re-imagine the next dynasty,” owner Joe Lacob told USA TODAY Sports during the NBA’s Tech Summit during All-Star weekend. “I think it’s been a good year for us to take stock with where we’re at and try to recreate.”

The Warriors traded six players before this year's NBA trade deadline. They also acquired four future second-round draft picks and a top-three protected first-round pick in 2021. Golden State's headline move was trading guard D'Angelo Russell to the Minnesota Timberwolves for small forward Andrew Wiggins. 

But the cherry on top for Lacob was the 2021 pick the Warriors received from Minnesota.

"We already had a high pick in 2020 and it's not considered the greatest draft," Lacob explained to NBC Sports Bay Area's Greg Papa during Warriors Pregame Live on Feb. 10. "But 2021, considered a very good draft. So, that was the key. It wasn't about multiple picks. It was about that pick."

[RELATED: Kerr laughs off Warriors' ugly season with funny tweet]

The Warriors will have a high draft pick this year and likely another valuable one from the T-Wolves next year. Steph Curry and Klay Thompson both will be healthy to join Wiggins and Draymond Green again as well next season.

Much of this season is a mirage of what the Warriors will put on the floor at Chase Center in a few months. Every dynasty takes a break.

Rarely can a new one arise this quickly, but Lacob sure will try.