9th May 2019
Golden State's star will miss the remainder of the West semifinals and be re-evaluated next week
Golden State star Kevin Durant injured his right calf during the third quarter of the Warriors' 104-99 playoff victory over the Houston Rockets on Wednesday night. An MRI on Thursday confirmed the injury to be a mild strain, which will cause Durant to miss at least the remainder of the Western Conference semifinals, the team announced on Thursday afternoon.
Durant will be re-evaluated next week and could return for the Western Conference finals. He won't travel with the team for Game 6 on Friday (9 ET, ESPN).
The Warriors took a 3-2 lead in the best-of-seven series with the win on Wednesday, but Durant's injury cast a shadow over the victory.
"You lose your best player, it's deflating," said Klay Thompson, who scored 27 points and had a layup to seal it with 4.1 seconds remaining.
Before Durant's MRI on Thursday, Warriors coach Steve Kerr told The Athletic it was unlikely Durant would play in Game 6.
"He’s not going to play Game 6," Kerr said, per The Athletic. "We can all pretend and just say he’s doubtful. But he’s not playing Game 6."
Curry and the rest of the Warriors were thankful Durant wasn't more seriously hurt.
Even coach Steve Kerr initially feared Durant might have injured his Achilles.
"When I walked into the coaches office after the game the replay of the play was going on and I thought the same thing because he kind of looked back like he had been kicked or something," Kerr said. "I thought, I've seen that before with guys who have hurt their Achilles. That was my first question and I was assured it's the calf. It's a calf strain and not the Achilles."
Durant limped to the locker room after landing awkwardly on his right foot following a baseline jumper with 2:11 left in the quarter.
"That looked like it was way worse than a calf strain," teammate Draymond Green said.
He finished with 22 points, five rebounds and four assists. The two-time reigning NBA Finals MVP was averaging 35.4 points in the playoffs coming into the day.
"Disappointed for him," Kerr said. "Excited about the win but concerned for Kevin and disappointed for him. He's been on this incredible playoff run and I'm proud of our guys for pulling the game out. We'll see how Kevin's doing tomorrow."
Kerr said the coaching staff would use time on the flight to Texas on Thursday to reconfigure the rotation with the idea Durant would be sidelined.
The Rockets were hopeful of seeing Durant on the court Friday.
"You hate to see anybody go down, especially somebody we know that well," Houston's Chris Paul said. "We want their best shot. That's their go-to guy. Hopefully he's all right. We'll see."
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.