Golden State Warriors star forward Kevin Durant will not play in Game 4 of the NBA Finals on Friday night as he continues to recover from a right calf injury, but swingman Klay Thompson is expected to return after missing Game 3 because of a hamstring injury.
There was hope within the organization that Durant, who has not played since injuring his calf against the Houston Rockets in Game 5 of the Western Conference semifinals on May 8, would be able to return to action on Friday, but Warriors coach Steve Kerr said Durant still isn’t ready.
Kerr and the Warriors were optimistic that Durant was making enough progress in his recovery to participate in some 3-on-3 scrimmages on Thursday, but that did not happen.
“It’s not going to happen today,” Kerr said. “I think that’s something that will happen in the coming days, but not today.” Kerr said that Durant didn’t suffer a setback, but the optimism surrounding his possible return was tempered during Thursday’s availability. The Warriors just aren’t sure when — or if — Durant will be able to return this season.
Veteran guard Shaun Livingston acknowledged that the Warriors have to start preparing as if Durant’s not coming back in this series.
“No question,” Livingston said. “I mean it’s a month, so of course, everybody in the world, on our side, is going to welcome him back when he’s ready. But only when he’s ready. So until then, we got to go out there like he’s not playing.”
If Durant does come back in this series, forward Draymond Green reiterated that he doesn’t think it will take much time for Durant to find a rhythm with the rest of his teammates — even with so much time off.
“He’ll come back and draw a lot of attention because no coach is going to be like, ‘Oh, he’s coming off injury, let’s see if he’s not quite Kevin Durant,'” Green said. “Like you’re just not going to take that chance. So it will open the floor up more, that’s for sure. But Kevin’s a competitor, and as a competitor, when you step out there on the floor, hurt or not or just coming back from an injury or not, you’re going to give everything you got. He’s way better than a lot of people when he’s a hundred percent. So if he’s 75 percent, he’ll still probably be better than a lot of people. So we’ll see if he’s able to come back or not.”
Like the rest of his teammates, Warriors guard Stephen Curry isn’t sure if Durant will be able to return, but he didn’t hesitate when asked in which ways Durant is missed the most.
“Everything,” Curry said. “He’s an all-world athlete who makes your team better. So it’s a tough blow, but we still have a great opportunity in front of us, and we’re going to lay it all out there on the line to try to get it done.”
As for Thompson, he is confident he will be able to produce after getting a couple of extra days of rest. He suffered a left hamstring injury in the fourth quarter of Game 2, and was held out of Game 3 even after pushing the medical staff to let him play. Kerr said there will be no restrictions on the All-Star swingman in Game 4, but the medical staff will watch him closely to see how his hamstring responds.
“My body feels really good,” Thompson said. “And just that extra night of rest really helped, and — I just can’t wait to get out here tomorrow.”