Warriors coach Steve Kerr noted that Durant’s absence will likely be longer as he continues to make his way back from the injury.
“Everyone needs to slow down a little bit on the Kevin stuff,” Kerr said after Monday’s practice. “He hasn’t even stepped on the floor yet. We’ve tried to remain somewhat vague because the injury is open-ended in terms of how much time he will need to recover.
“I think in doing so, people have got the idea that he is going to come back and be Willis Reed or something. He hasn’t even stepped on the floor yet. He still has pain. So there’s some time ahead of him on the rehab process. So we’ll have a more detailed update on Thursday.”
Durant injured his calf in the third quarter of Wednesday’s 104-99 win over the Houston Rockets in Game 5 of their conference semifinals series. With 2 minutes, 11 seconds left in the quarter, Durant went up for a jumper over Rockets swingman Iman Shumpert and landed awkwardly.
Initially, Warriors personnel were concerned that Durant had suffered an Achilles injury, but an MRI on Thursday confirmed the calf strain.
Durant watched film with his teammates on Monday, but as Kerr noted, he has not been able to do much basketball-related work.
Kerr also noted that injured center DeMarcus Cousins is still unlikely to reappear during the conference finals as he continues to rehab from a torn left quad.
“DeMarcus probably similar [to Durant’s status],” Kerr said. “He hasn’t had any live stuff on the court yet. So he’s not that close either, but hopefully another week goes by, and things start to get better, and now we have a better prognosis. But at this point, we’re getting ready for this series without both of them.”
Cousins, who was listed as “unlikely” to return during the postseason in the immediate aftermath of his injury, did some work after practice with members of the Warriors’ training staff. Cousins did light jogging and getting up some extra shots, but he wasn’t moving with the force of a player coming back to the lineup soon.
Kerr was asked if it is unlikely that Cousins returns in this series.
“I guess,” Kerr said. “Now that will be the headline. We sort of evaluate week to week. 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.”
While the Warriors are hopeful that both Durant and Cousins will return soon, the players understand that, at least in Durant’s case, they’ll likely be without him for at least a couple more games.
“It’s obviously tough,” Warriors guard Stephen Curry said. “Any time you’re in the playoffs and you miss a game, nobody likes that vibe. I know he wants to support us until he gets back, positive energy and all that type of stuff, but it’s just tough going through rehab missing games. Obviously, with his progress it will come as it does. I know he’s giving himself every opportunity to get back as soon as possible. We’ll be ready for him when he’s ready.
“Our job is to obviously take advantage of the home court, Games 1 and 2, and get off to a good start this series and continue to build momentum as the series goes.”