Both Kevin Durant and DeMarcus Cousins could miss the entire Western Conference Finals, dealing a blow to a Golden State Warriors team looking to reach its fifth consecutive NBA Finals.
As The Associated Press reported, there is no clarity on when Durant and Cousins could return from the injuries that have struck over the course of the team’s playoff run. Cousins has been out with a left quadriceps tear since the opening round, and Durant suffered a calf injury during the second round win over the Houston Rockets, leaving the team shorthanded going into the Western Conference Finals against the Portland Trail Blazers. Both have already been ruled out for Tuesday’s Game 1, and there is a chance that they will remain out for the remainder of the series.
Warriors coach Steve Kerr said on Monday that there will not be another update on Durant until after his calf injury is re-evaluated on Thursday, but didn’t strike an optimistic tone in his assessment and tempered any expectations of seeing him return.
“Everyone needs to slow down a little bit on the Kevin stuff. He hasn’t even stepped on the floor yet,” Kerr said. “We’ve tried to remain somewhat vague because the injury is really sort of open-ended in terms of how long he’s going to need to recover. But I think in doing so people have gotten the idea that he’s going to come back and be Willis Reed or something. He hasn’t even stepped on the floor yet, he still has pain. There’s time ahead of him on the rehab process.”
Kerry added that Cousins has not yet been able to practice live, saying he isn’t close to returning. Kerr said it would be at least another week until Cousins’ injury could be re-evaluated.
As Golden State of Mind reported, there had been some rumors that Cousins may be able to return at some point during the series, but Kerr’s evaluation now seemed to put that in doubt. The Warriors were able to insert veteran Andrew Bogut and increased minutes for other big men against the Rockets, and will now have the fortune of playing a Trail Blazers team that is without star center Jusuf Nurkic and with a backup in Enes Kanter who has been playing through the pain of a separated shoulder.
Steve Kerr said the Golden State Warriors are preparing as if both Kevin Durant and DeMarcus Cousins will be out of the remainder of the Western Conference Finals.