Kevin Durant hasn’t seen the basketball court in weeks, but there could be an encouraging sign that the Golden State Warriors star will be returning during the NBA Finals.
Durant suffered a strained right calf in Game 5 of the Western Conference semifinals against the Houston Rockets and has been out ever since, missing the team’s close-out Game 6 against Houston and the entirety of the sweep of the Portland Trail Blazers in the Western Conference Finals. But as ESPN reported, Durant could be nearing a return in the first two games of the NBA Finals.
Durant was seen boarding the team’s charter flight to Toronto where they will open with the first two games of the NBA Finals against the Raptors. The report noted that Durant had already been ruled out of Game 1, so the development gives hope that Durant might be able to make it back in time for Game 2.
Durant has been working out on his own, but had not yet progressed to practicing on court with his teammates, the ESPN report noted.
After there had been speculation that Durant could miss the remainder of the NBA Finals, the fact that he was seen boarding the plane was seen as an “encouraging sign,” noted ABC 7 reporter Casey Pratt.
If and when he does return, Kevin Durant may have to deal with even more distractions than normal. Even before the season comes to an end, he has been churned about in the rumor mill regarding where he will be playing next season, with the New York Knicks seen as the most likely destination.
While his team has been advancing to the NBA Finals for the fifth straight time — and third straight with Durant on the team — the former NBA MVP has been fielding questions instead about his offseason destination.
This week, Durant was even forced to address the speculation that the Golden State Warriors are better off without him. In an interview with Nick Friedell of ESPN, Durant spoke out against the haters, saying “That’s not facts.”
“It’s been that way since I got here,” Durant said. “It’s been that way since I got here — ‘It’s the Warriors and KD.’ I understand that, and 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.”
It is still not clear just when — or if — Kevin Durant might return to the Golden State Warriors.