The latest news surrounding the potential return of Golden State Warriors All-Star forward Kevin Durant, who is dealing with a right calf strain, will likely be a bitter pill for teammates and fans to swallow.
ESPN's Ramona Shelburne spoke to league sources, on Thursday, concerning the expected date of return for the two-time defending NBA Finals MVP:
"Golden State Warriors forward Kevin Durant will have his injured right calf reevaluated before Game 2 of the Western Conference finals but is 'not close' to returning to action, a league source told ESPN's Ramona Shelburne.
Durant hasn't resumed basketball-related activities yet, which would be the first step in returning to play.
Durant missed Tuesday's Game 1 win over the Portland Trail Blazers with the injury and will miss Thursday night's Game 2 as well. Warriors coach Steve Kerr said Monday that a 'more detailed update' on Durant would come Thursday."
Once Durant is finally cleared for "basketball-related activities," he will still need to go through the process of rehabilitating his injured calf, which will undoubtedly add excess time to what was initially-hoped to be a two-week timetable. This is, of course, still much better than if Durant had injured his Achilles tendon, as in-game commentators had speculated immediately following his exit from the Western Conference Semifinals Game 5, in Oakland, against the Houston Rockets.
Judging from the effort the Durant-less Warriors have been displaying since experiencing the shock of losing such an otherworldly competitor, winners of each of their playoff matchups (3-0) since the star's injury, coach Steve Kerr has maneuvered his team into position to take advantage of the opportunity to get the rest of their stars firing on all-cylinders–much like Kevin Durant had been throughout the 2019 postseason.
Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson, specifically, have been able to get back to their "old" style of offensive play, running-and-gunning, with quick passes and screens-galore, freeing each other and teammates up for excellent looks from beyond the arc. Looks, of course, that they knocked down in excess in Game 6 of the conference semis versus Houston and Game 1 of their current set against the Portland Trail Blazers.
Yet, even if the Dubs do appear to have a lesser-opponent in the Blazers (compared to the Rockets), the Toronto Raptors and Milwaukee Bucks are looming in the Eastern Conference Finals. Each of those teams will pose a worthy threat to a Warrior team with a healthy Kevin Durant in its starting five, much more so, in the event Durant doesn't become available for a possible Finals matchup with either team. So, the basketball world is left hanging, anxiously awaiting word whether this postseason's top performer will get to suit-up again for the three-peat seeking Golden State Warriors.