News dropped before Thursday night's Game 2 of the Western Conference Finals regarding the availability of injured Warriors forward Kevin Durant, stating that the All-Star was "not close" to returning to the court for Golden State.
As if that news were not already unsettling enough, Warriors coach Steve Kerr spoke with reporters after Thursday night's dramatic comeback victory against the Portland Trail Blazers, shedding a little more light on Durant's ever-evolving injury status.
ESPN's Nick Friedell covered the comments:
"'Hopefully he continues to progress, and he has made progress but it's a little more serious than we thought at the very beginning,' Kerr said after the Warriors' 114-111 Game 2 victory. 'So we'll see where it all goes, but he's in there all day long getting treatment. He's done a great job of committing himself to that process. [Warriors director of sports medicine and performance] Rick [Celebrini] and his staff are in there all day, and hopefully he'll be back at some point, but we'll just wait and see.'"
In Durant's absence, the obvious players who have stepped their game up have, of course, been Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson. Through the Dubs' first two playoff series combined, the Splash Brothers averaged 24.3 and 18.3 points per game, respectively. So far, in two contests versus the Portland Trail Blazers, the two guards have increased their scoring: Curry is up to 36.5 ppg (+12.2) and Klay has increased to 25 ppg (+6.7).
Yet, the story of the resilient Warriors doesn't end there. Other key performers, including starter and defensive-savant Draymond Green, as well as reserves Kevon Looney, Jordan Bell, and Quinn Cook, have folded right into the mix and made up for their missing star as best they can.
Scoring Averages vs. Blazers (2 games):
Green: 14 ppg (+1.4)
Looney: 10 ppg (+3.3)
Bell: 7 ppg (+5.8)
Cook: 5 ppg (+2.1)
In other injury news, DeMarcus Cousins appears to be coming along slowly, but he is improving and is already "starting to do some work on the floor," according to coach Kerr. Though, the Warriors coach was careful to temper expectations, adding, "[Cousins is] not exactly close to playing in a game but he's making good strides with his rehab and getting out on the court and starting to do some conditioning things. We'll see where that goes."
Both Durant and Cousins are likely being monitored daily, even hour-to-hour, by team physicians and are slated to be officially "re-evaluated in one week," according to a statement issued by the Warriors. Golden State travels to Portland to play Games 3 and 4 of the Western Conference Finals, beginning Saturday, owning a 2-0 series lead.