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 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, following the team’s shootaround on Monday in Toronto Warriors head coach Steve Kerr informed the media in attendance that the team had officially upgraded Durant’s status from questionable to him being a game-time decision. Later in the day, Kerr confirmed media reports that Durant plans to play in Game 5.
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Kerr had shown optimism earlier Monday, and noted that Durant would practice ahead of the game.
“He’s going to practice with us today,” Warriors head coach Steve Kerr told media members. “He’ll get some extra work in with some of our younger players, and we’ll gauge it from there.”
With that return to practice, Kerr said that he is more hopeful about Durant’s potential return that he has been in the past.
“Yeah,” Kerr replied when asked if he was feeling more optimistic about Durant’s status. “Because he hasn’t done what he’s going to do today. He’s doing more today, and we’ll know more after that.”
Kerr has previously stated that Durant could 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.”
Nothing is set in stone yet, but the fact that Durant is planning to play is the most encouraging bit of news yet. He just needs final clearance from Golden State’s medical staff if he is going to take the floor tonight.
The Warriors have not had their entire roster available to them in a single NBA Finals game, but with Durant expected to return and Kevon Looney likely to play as well, they should tonight. If the Raptors are going to win their first championship tonight, they are going to have to do so against a Warriors team that is closer to full strength than it has been in weeks. Durant may not be at his best, but his mere presence on the floor changes everything. The Warriors have a chance to swing the series tonight with their two-time Finals MVP back on the floor.