Warriors' Kevin Durant Out for 2019 NBA Finals Game 1 vs. Raptors with Injury

Kyle Newport@@KyleNewportFeatured ColumnistMay 27, 2019

Golden State Warriors forward Kevin Durant (35) in the first half of an NBA basketball game Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2019, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
David Zalubowski/Associated Press

Golden State Warriors superstar Kevin Durant has been ruled out for Game 1 of the 2019 NBA Finals against the Toronto Raptors on Thursday as he continues to rehab a calf injury.

Head coach Steve Kerr told reporters as much Monday.

Durant has been sidelined since May 8, when he limped off the court late in the third quarter of Game 5 of the Warriors' second-round matchup with the Houston Rockets:

The initial fear was that he had suffered an Achilles injury. Ultimately, though, he was diagnosed with a strained right calf

As the star had been sidelined for more than a week, Golden State coach Steve Kerr revealed on May 17 the injury was a "little more serious than we thought at the very beginning":

The 10-time All-Star made it known last week that his current injury is "worse" than any calf injury he has dealt with in the past:

Durant missed the final game of the Rockets series as well as the Warriors' four-game sweep of the Portland Trail Blazers in the Western Conference Finals. One week before the Finals were set to tip off, Golden State announced that it was "unlikely" the two-time Finals MVP would be ready for Game 1, though he would be re-evaluated prior to the series.

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It was, however, "hopeful" that he would play at some point during the Finals.

As much as Durant may have wanted to take the court with his teammates for Game 1, he will remain inactive for the time being. 

While Golden State is 34-4 (and 31-1 in their last 32 such games, including 5-0 this postseason) over the last three seasons when Stephen Curry plays and Durant doesn't, Draymond Green made it clear to ESPN.com's Nick Friedell earlier this month that the team "need[s]" Durant for the Finals, as the 2013-14 NBA MVP makes them "unbeatable." He also told The Athletic's Tim Kawakami that "it's idiotic" to say they are better without Durant, regardless of their record without him. 

The Warriors have not had to play in the Finals without Durant since 2016...and that series featured a historic collapse to LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers. That failure, of course, set the stage for Durant to move to the Bay Area.

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