Kevin Durant will miss at least a month after suffering a Grade 2 MCL sprain and a tibial bone bruise in the Warriors game against the Wizards on Tuesday night. The team announced on Wednesday morning that Durant will be re-evaluated in four weeks and that there is not a specific timetable for his return.
The Warriors will reportedly sign Matt Barnes as Durant’s replacement on the wing, with the hopes that Durant can return to action before the end of the regular season. The official diagnosis falls pretty closely in line with the reports that came out earlier Wednesday morning that said there was concern the injury would keep him out of the lineup until the playoffs start in six weeks. With a minimum of four weeks before he’s even re-evaluated, there’s a legitimate chance that Durant could miss the entire regular season, but the Warriors are not ruling out a return in the final week or two.
Durant’s injury suddenly creates a very interesting battle for the top seed between the Warriors and the Spurs, as San Antonio is only three games back of Golden State in the loss column with a home-heavy schedule to end the regular season. Being the league’s best home team at 26-3, having home-court advantage throughout the playoffs is something extremely valuable to Golden State. The Warriors certainly have the talent to manage through Durant’s injury, but the Warriors were hoping to get more rest at the end of the regular season this year to try and be fresher come playoff time.
Now, with Durant out and the Spurs hanging around, Steve Kerr will have to figure out if he can balance resting his stars for another deep playoff run with ensuring the Warriors have home-court throughout the playoffs.