Warriors’ Bob Myers explains what Kevin Durant has to do before returning in NBA Finals
Kevin Durant’s impending return to the court is among the most pressing questions the Golden State Warriors have been forced to answer throughout the course of these NBA Finals. Durant was sidelined after suffering a calf strain during the third quarter of Game 5 against the Houston Rockets, missing the past seven games recovering from it.
Warriors president Bob Myers insisted Durant must first hurdle a variety of checks before he’s cleared to play:
“He still has to get through a full-speed practice, probably an individual workout and then practice with some light contact or something that simulates, the best you can, an NBA game,” Myers told Greg Papa of NBC Sports Bay Area. “Until he does that, you really don’t know whether he’s coming back for whatever game it might be because you clearly have to do those things, you have to be able to go 100 percent by yourself first, then with a little contact, then get through a practice. But I think Steve was basically saying ‘Look, if he gets through a full practice with a little bit of contact, he’ll play.’ But I don’t know when that will be.”
Durant traveled with the team to Toronto, but has yet to practice. Papa asked Myers if Durant was able to do his patented jab-step move, but the executive noted everything will come through once he takes the practice floor:
“We’re not there yet,” said Myers. “That’s probably the last step, right, is to go full bore. This is not something you tape up, this is not something you inject, it’s not one of those deals. It’s not as if, well, mentally if you get through it, your body will tell you when you can go. But you have to be able to do those things. And defensively, just pivoting and going the other way. This is not an injury that, you know Steph had those sprained ankles, and you kind of get through it. This is not really an injury you get through. Either you can go or you can’t and your body will tell you that. Again, until we get to the phase and the progression where he’s doing those things, we don’t know.”
A calf strain impacts everything from speed to lateral and front-to-back movement, limiting Durant’s explosion, stride length and even the elevation he gets on his jump shot.
To hurdle this injury is no light matter, but Kerr and Myers are hopeful he’s able to practice and rejoin his teammates sooner rather than later, given the slew of bodies pending examinations before being deemed fit to play.