OAKLAND, Calif. — Warriors star Kevin Durant will be sidelined at least two weeks after an MRI on Friday revealed that the forward has an incomplete rib-cartilage fracture, the team announced.
The two-week timetable would run to the end of March. Golden State, which is 2.5 games behind the first-place Houston Rockets in the West, has six games in April before the playoffs begin.
Durant’s absence means the Warriors will be down three All-Stars for the foreseeable future.
Forward Klay Thompson is sidelined with a fractured right thumb and is scheduled to be re-evaluated Thursday, meaning he could miss at least seven games.
And Stephen Curry is sidelined with a right ankle sprain. He missed his fourth straight game in Friday’s 98-93 loss to the Kings and will be re-evaluated Tuesday, meaning he is expected to miss at least three more.
“It’s just irritating because you just want to hoop,” Durant said. “As far as playoffs and all that stuff, I don’t think anybody is thinking that far down the line. Just taking it day by day.”
Warriors coach Steve Kerr said he was not too concerned with the long-term effects of Durant’s injury.
“It’s not too high because we’re probably looking at a week or two and evaluate him, but it doesn’t appear to be anything longer than that,” Kerr said. “All these injuries seem to be temporary. A couple weeks, a week, two weeks — whatever. We’re in good shape. We’ve just got to survive this next slate of games and hopefully start getting guys back and get rolling again for the playoffs.”
The Warriors also Omri Casspi during the game, who exited with a sprained right ankle in the first half:
“To lose another one of our wings, we’re literally running out of bodies. It’s a shame,” Kerr said. “The timing is strange. Everybody seems to be going down at the same time. But more than anything, I feel bad for him, because this is his time to play.”
Durant said he suffered the injury in Sunday’s loss to the Timberwolves in Minneapolis.
“Late in the game, I was driving to the rim and I kind of rammed into [Timberwolves center] Karl-Anthony Towns, and that’s when I felt it,” Durant said before the Warriors faced the Kings on Friday at Oracle Arena. “That’s when it happened, for sure, and they told me it got inflamed over the last couple days between games.”
Durant played in the Warriors’ next game, a 117-106 win over the Lakers, during which he scored a game-high 26 points, adding 6 assists and 5 rebounds. But Durant said in the first half against the Lakers, he irritated his ribs even more when he closed out on a defender on the perimeter.
“That’s when I felt it, and I kind of stopped,” he said. “I didn’t know what was going on at that point, but when I went over to the bench, it was hurting pretty bad.”
Durant said he hasn’t suffered an injury like this before but noted he’s glad he got it looked at.
“It hurts when I laugh,” he said. “Right now, since it’s so new, getting up and out of bed and getting up and out of my seat — normal movements throughout the day, not even basketball movements, that irritates it just a bit. And then obviously on the court.
“Hopefully this feels better over the next week or so, and I’ll be out there.”
Could the timing be a blessing in disguise because Durant, Curry and Thompson would all be well-rested for the playoffs?
“You can look at it that way, but we all love to play,” Durant said. “That’s the positive part that you can look at it, but on the other side, man, I wish we were out there just hooping and using these days to get better and sharpening up our skills. But that’s what happens when you play a contact sport. Stuff happens. It could’ve been worse for all three of us, but luckily it’s not.”
Draymond Green saw a silver lining to being the only healthy player of the Warriors’ All-Star quartet.
“It’s more shots for me, baby,” Green joked, initially, before adding, “That’s the most important thing, though, is to get healthy. Obviously, I think, where we are right now — we’re in a position where, I think all three guys could play if they had to, but it’s just not that important for them to play. I think it’s more important for them to be healthy. That’s kind of been the theme the whole year – just to keep guys fresh and healthy and try to get a rhythm while doing it.
“With those three guys being down, it gives other guys a chance to play, get some minutes. But it also gives them a chance to not only rest or get rehab but also get their legs back going into the playoffs. It’s a long season, so, I don’t think it’s all bad for us with those guys being down. We’ll be fine and get them healthy and then we can go into the playoffs healthy. That’s the goal.”