As the Golden State Warriors attempt to reach their fifth straight NBA Finals, they will have to do so without Kevin Durant for the opening game of the Western Conference Finals and perhaps beyond.
Durant will miss Game 1 against the Portland Trail Blazers in Oakland on Tuesday as he continues to work his way back from the right calf strain he suffered in Game 5 of last round’s matchup with the Houston Rockets. ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne had the report on Monday, setting the scene for a Warriors-less team taking on a weary Trail Blazers squad after surviving Game 7 in Denver on Sunday night.
Shelburne also reports that Durant won’t be re-evaluated until Thursday, which is also the day of Game 2. That means he probably won’t play in either of the first two games of the series, though Durant won’t be officially ruled out until the day of.
The Warriors were able to dispatch the Rockets without Durant when Steph Curry went bananas and scored 33 points in the second half after he entered halftime scoreless. The Warriors will have to continue to turn the clock back to the pre-Durant era against the Trail Blazers, who shocked the Denver Nuggets in Game 7 when they came back from a 17-point deficit to drop the Nuggets at home.
While there was an initial exhale when the news came back that Duran’t injury had nothing to do with his Achilles, it appears Durant will still miss a significant amount of time.