KD ‘unlikely to play’ at beginning of Finals, but Boogie might be back just in time

Steve Kerr On Injured Stars Kevin Durant, DeMarcus Cousins…

Warriors’ Kevin Durant ‘unlikely to play’ at beginning of NBA Finals

Josh Schrock | NBC SPORTS 

After sweeping the Portland Trail Blazers in the Western Conference finals, the Warriors have more than a week to rest up and hopefully get healthy for their fifth straight NBA Finals appearance.

The Warriors updated the progress of Kevin Durant (right calf strain) and DeMarcus Cousins (torn left quad) ahead of Thursday’s media availability, and it doesn’t look like either star will be able to go when the Finals begin May 30.

Durant has not yet resumed basketball activities, but the Warriors are hopeful he can return at some point. Golden State is hopeful that Cousins will be able to return for the Finals.

Durant initially injured his right calf during the third quarter of Game 5 in the Warriors’ second-round NBA playoff series against the Houston Rockets. The two-time NBA Finals MVP had been on a tear leading up to the injury, averaging 34.2 points per game during the postseason, and was unstoppable ever since his “I’m Kevin Durant” moment following the Dubs’ Game 2 loss to the LA Clippers in the first round. 

After waiting his entire career to see playoff action, Cousins injured his quadriceps muscle in the opening minutes of Game 2 of the Warriors’ series with the Clippers.

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Warriors GM Bob Myers explains tricky part about Kevin Durant’s injury

Drew Shiller | NBC SPORTS 

Warriors forward Kevin Durant sustained a strained right calf on May 8.

The injury is more serious than initially thought, as Golden State made the following announcement on Thursday morning:

“Durant, who has not yet been cleared to begin on-court activities, continues to make good progress with his rehabilitation. At this point, it is unlikely that he will play at the beginning of the 2019 NBA Finals, but it’s hopeful that he could return at some point during the series.”

Game 1 of the NBA Finals is on Thursday, May 30 in either Milwaukee or Toronto, and the Warriors will provide another update on KD next Wednesday.

“The tricky thing with Kevin is you cannot have a setback because we’re so up against it,” Dubs GM Bob Myers said on 95.7 The Game on Thursday afternoon. “This is not something you can push hard because if you have a setback, it kind of takes you out of the equation.

“So you have to be very diligent and smart. And [Director of Sports Medicine and Performance] Rick Celebrini is great and Kevin has been unbelievable in showing up twice a day and putting all the work in that he can. You don’t need to motivate Kevin Durant to want to get back.”

The reigning two-time NBA Finals MVP did not travel to Portland for Games 3 and 4 of the Western Conference finals. Is it possible that he stays back in the Bay Area next week as well?

“I haven’t gotten to that place yet,” Myers said. “I’m speculating that at this point we’re assuming he will travel … that hasn’t even really been kicked around. I think all indications are that he would go and play or continue to rehab there.

“But we haven’t finalized that.”

Game 2 is on Sunday, June 2 with Games 3 and 4 at Oracle Arena on June 5 and 7 respectively.

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Warriors’ DeMarcus Cousins could return in time for start of NBA Finals

Logan Murdock | NBC SPORTS 

OAKLAND — In a surprising twist, injured Warriors center DeMarcus Cousins practiced Thursday afternoon for the first time since tearing his left quad. 

With Cousins one step closer to game action, Golden State could be getting reinforcements at just the right time. 

“I feel good. A lot better than I was,” Cousins said Thursday afternoon. “I’m able to get up and down the court more. I’m able to play a little competition basketball.”

Minutes before Cousins spoke to the media for the first time in more than a month, the Warriors announced he, along with Kevin Durant, will miss the onset of the NBA Finals next week, but expressed hope both could play sometime during the series

Following Thursday’s practice, Warriors coach Steve Kerr said Cousins’ availability for Game 1 of the Finals on May 30 will depend on his conditioning level. Additionally, Kerr wouldn’t commit to starting the big man when ready, saying the decision will depend on matchups. 

Cousins, who tore his quad diving for a loose ball in Game 2 of a first-round series with the Clippers, signed a one-year, $5.2 million deal with the Warriors in July in an effort to boost his value after the perennial All-Star tore his Achilles last season. After averaging 16.3 points, 8.2 rebounds and 3.6 assists in 30 regular-season games this year, Cousins seemed primed for a summer payday before the quad injury occurred. Shortly after suffering the injury, Cousins vowed to return in the playoffs. 

“Initially, I thought it was worse than what it was,” Cousins said. “There was obviously a panic, but once the doctors came out and I realized what it was, I gathered myself from a couple of days of frustration, anger, sadness and all of the above. I told myself to get back to work and do it all over again. That’s what I did, and that’s what I’ll continue to do.”

“I feel like that’s what adversity does: It always builds you up and makes you stronger for the next bump,” he added. “That was one of my darkest moments, dealing with the Achilles. I feel like I was in a stronger mental capacity when it came to dealing with this one. Not to say that it’s been easy, but it’s a more comfortable situation.”

Over the last month, Cousins has been seen working on his lateral movement and taking light jump shots after practice. As for his pending return, Cousins believes that he can be a vital piece for a team in need of reinforcements. 

“I think people know what I can do,” he said. “It’s just about me being healthy. Of course, I want to be out there to help my team and to play the game that I love to play. I also just want to be healthy. This is an opportunity to do that.”

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