The Golden State Warriors advanced to the Western Conference finals without Kevin Durant, and will have to face at least Game 1 of that series without him, too.
Per ESPN's Ramona Shelburne, Durant will not play in Game 1 of the West finals against the Portland Trail Blazers on Tuesday night (9 ET, ESPN). It's unlikely Durant will suit up for Game 2 because he isn't scheduled to be re-evaluated until the morning of the game on Thursday.
Kevin Durant is out for at least Game 1 of the WCF, source tells ESPN. He’s not being re-evaluated until Thursday so it’s “unlikely “ he plays Game 2 either.— Ramona Shelburne (@ramonashelburne) May 13, 2019
Golden State initially feared the two-time reigning NBA Finals MVP might have injured his Achilles, a far more serious issue.
However, despite the less severe diagnosis, coach Steve Kerr said on Monday people should "slow down" when estimating Durant's return.
"He hasn't even stepped on the floor yet," Kerr said on Monday. "We've tried to remain somewhat vague because the injury is really sort of open-ended in terms of how long he's going to need to recover. But I think in doing so, people have gotten the idea that he's going to come back ... be Willis Reed or something.
"He still has pain. So there's time ahead of him on the rehab process," Kerr continued. "We'll have a more detailed update on Thursday."
Full practice updates on Kevin Durant and DeMarcus Cousins. Neither has been cleared for court action. Durant still experiencing pain. Neither sound too close to returning. pic.twitter.com/FzIPLlNTUj— Anthony Slater (@anthonyVslater) May 13, 2019
An MRI exam last Thursday confirmed the Warriors’ initial diagnosis of a strained right calf. The Warriors closed out the series on Friday night, defeating the Rockets 118-113 in Game 6 behind a 33-point night from star guard Stephen Curry. Durant did not travel with the team for that game, remaining in the Bay Area to get treatment for his injury.
Golden State did get some good news on the injury front over the weekend, though. DeMarcus Cousins, who has been sidelined since April 15 with a torn quariceps muscle, is on course to return to the Warriors during the Western Conference finals, according to Marc Stein of The New York Times.
Another reward for the victorious Warriors: League sources say that DeMarcus Cousins -- if he maintains his recent progress from a torn quad -- is on course to make a return to the Warriors' active roster during the Western Conference finals— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) May 11, 2019
Like Durant, Kerr says Cousins still has a long way to go until he's back on the court.
"He hasn't had any live stuff on the court yet," Kerr said on Monday. "He's not that close either. Hopefully, another week goes by and things start to get better. But at this point, we're getting ready for this series without both of them.
"We sort of evaluate week to week," Kerr said. "But if a guy hasn't seen any live action the day before the first game of a series, it's tough to see that turning around quickly. For both guys, it's not like anything is imminent."
Cousins has been out since Game 2 of Golden State's first-round series with the Clippers. In 30 games this season, Cousins averaged 16.3 points, 8.2 rebounds, 3.6 assists and 1.5 blocks in 25.7 minutes.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.