Kevin Durant isn’t sure when he’ll return from his calf injury but he is sure that the Warriors are better with him in the lineup. Durant addressed those topics while meeting the media, including ESPN’s Nick Friedell, on Friday.
Durant noted that while he’s showing steady improvement, the right calf strain he suffered in Game 5 against the Rockets in the conference semifinals still needs time to heal. Durant has not been cleared for on-court work. He’s doubtful to play in Game 1 of the Finals on Thursday.
“I’m just taking it a second at a time,” Durant said. “Every rep we do in the weight room, I just try to focus on that rep and not try to think too far down the line. ‘Cause I don’t really know too much about this injury. I’m leaving it the hands of the team doctors. I trust the direction they’re trying to put me in.”
Durent initially feared he tore his Achilles, the same injury teammate DeMarcus Cousins suffered last season with the Pelicans.
“I pushed off to run down court and I felt somebody trip me up,” Durant said, according to an NBA.com post. “First thing that came to mind, ‘Boogie (Cousins) said, Kobe (Bryant) said…’ that it felt like somebody kicked them (after they tore Achilles tendons). So the first thing in my mind was to slow down and process what happened. Then I started walking, and I could put weight on it, and it wasn’t as bad as I thought.”
The Warriors have won all five playoff games with Durant out of action, prompting many observers to say the team is better off without the impending free agent and more fun to watch. Durant has heard the talk and says it’s not factual.
“I felt like my teammates and the organization know exactly what I’ve done here off and on the court to become a part of this culture, stamp my flag in this culture and this organization. … I know what I bring to the team, but I also know a lot of people on the outside don’t like to see us together, and I get it,” he said.
Warriors owner Joe Lacob has repeatedly said he’ll do whatever it takes to keep the core group together this offseason, including Durant.
Forward Andre Iguodala (calf), who missed Game 4 against Portland, and Cousins (quad), who has been since the opening round, are closer to returning. Both participated in a full team scrimmage on Friday without restrictions on contact or playing time.