The Golden State Warriors’ injury update on Kevin Durant, issued Wednesday afternoon, should be considered good news.
The Warriors say that Durant has made “very good progress” since suffering an MCL sprain and bone bruise to his left knee in Washington on Feb. 28. Durant has “not experienced any setbacks to date and has progressed as well as could be expected.”
The best case scenario seems to be that Durant could play in the Warriors’ final three games of the season, all at home against New Orleans, Utah and the Lakers. But there’s still a possibility that he won’t be available until the start of the playoffs.
After an initial 2-5 stretch without Durant (including the game in which he was injured early in the first quarter), the Warriors have won eight straight games, a streak that includes wins over three other Western Conference playoff teams. With no Durant, the Warriors rank just 12th offensively in March, but they have had the league’s best defense this month and have a chance to be the first team since the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls to lead the league in both offensive and defensive efficiency.
Though the overall offensive numbers have taken a step backward, the Warriors have seen an increase in ball movement since Durant’s injury. Over the last 14 games, they’ve averaged 3.36 passes per possession, up from 3.05 over their first 60 games (through the game in which Durant was injured), according to SportVU.
The Warriors picked up a big win in Houston on Tuesday, but are in San Antonio on Wednesday for the second game of a back-to-back (9:30 p.m. ET, ESPN). Despite the winning streak, Golden State holds just a two game lead in the loss column over San Antonio for first place in the Western Conference and home-court advantage throughout the playoffs. The Spurs, having won the first two head-to-head meetings, hold the tiebreaker.