It has been just over three weeks since Kevin Durant suffered a serious injury to his left knee with a grade 2 sprain of his medial collateral ligament and a bone bruise. During this time, he has steadily progressed through his rehabilitation from the ailment without experiencing any setbacks.
With that in mind, ESPN’s Marc Stein is reporting that the Golden State Warriors are getting a great sense of optimism that Durant will be able to return next month prior to the end of the regular season.
Story posting now w/ @chrisbhaynes: ESPN sources say Kevin Durant’s progress has Warriors hopeful he can return before end of regular season
— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) March 22, 2017
This comes a day after Kevin Durant took another big step forward in his recovery ahead of Tuesday’s game against the Dallas Mavericks by participating in his first on-court workout since suffering the injury. This included putting up shots on the move along with a few running drills. Last week, he had finally shed the bulky knee brace on his left leg.
Durant looked pretty comfortable shooting jumpers before the Mavericks game. didn’t see him doing anything more explosive than this, though. pic.twitter.com/E51raIkkeY
— Tim Cato (@tim_cato) March 21, 2017
— Fahad Khan (@fkhan49) March 22, 2017
Up to this point, Durant has shown no reason to believe otherwise that he won’t be back on the court next month to get some regular season games under his belt before the start of the playoffs. In Kevin Durant’s absence, the Golden State Warriors have gone through the motions holding a 7-5 record through 12 games played, bu that includes a current five-game winning streak.
They appear to finally be hitting stride offensively in the last four contests cruising to an average margin of victory of 24 points while recording more than 110 points in each game. Stephen Curry has been on the forefront of that stepping up his play over their current winning streak by registering 20 0r more points four times while recording five or more assists in all but one game. Klay Thompson has also been a factor during this stretch notching 20 or more points in each contest along with making at least five made 3-pointers on four occasions.
The seemingly imminent return of Kevin Durant will provide a major boost to Golden State, who in recent weeks have been shouldered with doubt in the absence of the former league MVP. The 26-year-0ld has made a seamless transition in his first campaign with the Warriors quickly taking over the reigns as their leading scorer averaging 25.3 points with 8.2 rebounds and 1.6 blocks per game.
Durant currently leads Golden State Warriors in several categories this season such as scoring, rebounding, blocks, free throws made and attempted. He is also averaging career highs in field goal percentage (53.7), rebounds, and blocks per game. Along with that, he and New Orleans Pelicans forward Anthony Davis are the only players in the NBA averaging at least 25 points and 1.6 blocks and has scored in double figures in 58 times with 20 or more points in 50 games.
Durant’s scoring punch gives the Warriors three players averaging over 20 points, which would mark the fifth time in franchise history that this feat has been reached. On top of that, they hold a 32-5 record when these three All-Stars score a combined 70 or more points, and a 16-1 mark when each has 20 or more points in the same game.
Prior to his injury, the Golden State Warriors were beginning to hit their stride holding a 50-9 record having won seven of their eight previous games while scoring at least 110 points in every contest including surpassing more than 120 points four times. However, they now only sit 2.5 games ahead of the San Antonio Spurs for the No.1 seed in the Western Conference with 11 games remaining in the regular season.
With Kevin Durant progressing toward a return to the court in the coming weeks, his presence could arrive during a critical time for the Warriors in their hopes of capturing down the top spot in the playoff picture and home court throughout the postseason.
[Featured Image by AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki]