The Golden State Warriors have been pushed to the brink of elimination by the Toronto Raptors in the 2019 NBA Finals. A big reason that they’re facing a 3-1 deficit in the series is the various injuries that they’ve dealt with. Most notable among them is the calf injury that has kept Kevin Durant on the sideline since Game 5 of their second-round series against the Houston Rockets.

However, after over a month on the shelf, Durant will return to action for Game 5 against the Raptors on Monday night. Head coach Steve Kerr confirmed the news prior to the game on Monday night. 

“He’s gonna play tonight,” Kerr told NBA TV. “There’s not a minutes restriction, it’s gonna be based more on how he’s feeling. He hasn’t played, obviously, in a month. So we’ll see about his conditioning. If he gets tired we’ll take him out, and when he’s ready to go back in we’ll put him back in.”

Durant practiced with the Warriors on Sunday for the first time since sustaining the calf injury, and he also participated in shootaround on Monday morning. 

“He looked good,” Warriors head coach Kerr said of Durant to media members on Monday morning. “We’ll see where it goes.” 

Kerr has previously stated that Durant could potentially play in the series after just one practice. 

“It’s feasible,” Kerr said. “But again, it’s really a day-to-day thing. If we had a crystal ball, we would have known a long time ago what we were dealing with. It’s just an injury; there’s been a lot of gray area. So literally it’s just day to day and how the progress is coming. And at this point he’s still not ready.”  

With Durant set to return for Game 5, one has to wonder about the level of rust that he will be dealing with after being sidelined for over a month. But, Durant at even 60 or 70 percent would provide a big boost to the Warriors, who have looked lost without him at times against the Raptors. 

“You worry about the conditioning … the skill obviously is undeniable and he’s a guy who can get his shot off any time he wants,” Kerr said. “He’s Kevin Durant. So, if we have him out there, he’ll be a threat, we know that.” 

Now that he’s finally set to return, Durant has a legacy-altering opportunity in front of him. His team dug themselves into a 3-1 hole without him, and if he can lead them out of that hole and to a third straight title, it would be viewed as an all-time accomplishment. 

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