While the Golden State Warriors are still battling to capture a three-peat, their current 3-1 series hole against the Toronto Raptors will be a difficult one to overcome. Of course, one of the primary storylines of this NBA Finals has been the murky injury status of Kevin Durant and whether he would be available.
Durant hurt his calf in Game 5 of the Warriors’ second-round series against the Rockets, but there has been plenty of speculation that his injury is much more severe than anyone is letting on. Durant has been sidelined for over a month now, and his absence is reportedly taking a toll on the Warriors’ locker room. According to The Athletic’s Sam Amick, Durant’s absence has created confusion among several of his teammates.
At the very least, Durant’s absence that began back on May 8 is causing a mixture of confusion and angst among several of his teammates that simply can’t be helpful to their overall cause. Sources say there was a very real hope that Durant would be able to play in Game 4, to push through in much the same way that Thompson, Cousins, Iguodala and Looney have done of late. When that didn’t happen, and when they saw their season compromised more than ever without him after they’d grown hopeful of his return after seeing him on the court, the irritation grew in large part because they simply didn’t understand why he wasn’t there.
While Durant may be suffering the most severe injury out of the rest of the banged-up Warriors, it is clear that his absence is still affecting this team. Not only are Thompson, Cousins and Looney playing through injuries themselves, but Durant’s upcoming free agency could have his teammates think he’s holding out for what’s in his best interest instead of the overall team.
However, it could truly be that Durant’s injury is simply too serious to fight his way back from. ESPN’s Brian Windhorst says Durant remains unprepared for a comeback, despite being listed as questionable for tonight’s Game 5.
.@WindhorstESPN: “Durant just isn’t ready. His body isn’t ready. The trainers don’t believe it, he doesn’t believe it…”
He says there’s frustration around the Warriors about the situation pic.twitter.com/NxfbbP8Dk2
— Rob Lopez (@r0bato) June 8, 2019
Durant has always seemed like sort of an outsider since joining Golden State three seasons ago and these latest qualms from his teammates only reinforce that belief. With his free agency looming, it’ll be intriguing to see if this latest injury saga and pushback from his teammates will have any impact on his ultimate decision.
The typical timeframe for an injury similar to what Kevin Durant suffered is usually somewhere around 4-6 weeks, placing KD at the very beginning of that window. If Durant were to come back now and be inserted into the Warriors’ lineup he would still be far from 100%, but his mere presence could shift the entire series if Toronto lets it.