The Golden State Warriors are seeking a third straight trip to the NBA Finals. To do so, they will have to make it a while without their leading scorer and top offseason addition, Kevin Durant.
Durant, who suffered a left knee injury early in last night's road loss to the Washington Wizards, was diagnosed a Grade 2 MCL sprain and tibial bone bruise that was revealed by an MRI. He is out indefinitely and will be re-evaluated in four weeks.
Injury Update: Kevin Durant suffered a Grade 2 MCL sprain and a tibial bone bruise.— Warriors PR (@WarriorsPR) March 1, 2017
Full details below. pic.twitter.com/t3JkVnMmqa
ESPN's Jeff Goodman reported minutes earlier that the Warrirors remain hopeful that Durant will be available for the postseason ...
Kevin Durant expected back for the postseason, multiple sources told ESPN. “It’s not as bad as it looked,” one source said.— Jeff Goodman (@GoodmanESPN) March 1, 2017
Kevin Durant hasn't been ruled out that he could return to the court before the end of the regular season.— Chris Haynes (@ChrisBHaynes) March 1, 2017
All in all, good news for Kevin Durant and Warriors, team says: Sprained MCL, bone bruise. He will be re-evaluated in a month.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) March 1, 2017
Durant leads the team in scoring (25.3 points per game), free throw makes (5.5) and attempts (6.3) per game, rebounding (8.2 rpg) and blocks (1.6 bpg).
Golden State added Durant in the offseason in the biggest move of the summer, signing him to a two-year deal (which has an opt-out this summer) as the high-powered Warriors added the 2013-14 Kia MVP. Entering last night, Durant had appeared in 58 of 59 games for the Warriors, missing last Saturday's date against the Brooklyn Nets with a left hand contusion.
Durant was injured when teammate Zaza Pachulia fell backwards into his left leg while grappling with Wizards center Marcin Gortat less than a minute into the first quarter. He hobbled through two more possessions before leaving for good.
After the last night's game, a somber mood was present in the Warriors' locker room over the status of Durant's future. Anthony Slater of The Mercury News has more on that and some postgame comments from Durant's teammates:
Pachulia said he had no idea Durant was behind him and initially had no idea he’d injured the star forward. He didn’t blame the reckless loose ball foul on Gortat, calling it “just a basketball play” and asked inquiring reporters: “You guys think I did it on purpose or something?”
Twenty minutes after the loss, the Warriors opened the locker room to the press. Durant had been gone for some time, already off for testing. His teammates had yet to see him and gauge his mood. Some said they texted him encouragement. But the mood in the room was silent and decidedly somber, much more so than a typical regular season loss.
“Obviously KD is the No. 1 reason (for the mood),” Pachulia said.
“We’re not going to act like he died when we don’t even know what happened,” Green said. “We don’t know what’s going on.”
The Warriors have 22 games left, spanning the next six weeks, before the playoffs begin on April 15. If Durant’s return timetable falls anywhere before that — in the next few weeks or right before the first round — the Warriors will breathe a sigh of relief.
“The core guys have been together for awhile — myself, Andre, Shaun, Klay, Draymond,” Curry said. “But we have a different roster and we haven’t been without him but one game this year. So it’ll be an adjustment.”