Warriors' Joe Lacob Expects Kevin Durant to Return from Injury During NBA Finals

Kyle Newport@@KyleNewportFeatured ColumnistJune 5, 2019

Golden State Warriors' Kevin Durant during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Los Angeles Lakers Thursday, April 4, 2019, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
Marcio Jose Sanchez/Associated Press

Kevin Durant will not suit up against the Toronto Raptors on Wednesday for Game 3 of the 2019 NBA Finals as he continues to try to work his way back from a calf injury, but Golden State Warriors owner Joe Lacob said on SportsCenter he still expects the two-time Finals MVP to see the court at some point during the series.

SportsCenter @SportsCenter

Warriors owner Joe Lacob says he expects to see KD on the floor at some point during the #NBAFinals. https://t.co/S5fcgjuYIo

According to Connor Letourneau of the San Francisco Chronicle, the Warriors are hopeful Durant will participate in a full-contact scrimmage against the team's assistant coaches and younger players on Thursday.

"He's got to continue to improve and not have any setbacks," Golden State coach Steve Kerr said on Wednesday, per Letourneau. "That's the main thing. So, we'll go from there."

Durant has been sidelined since May 8, missing the last eight games (including Wednesday's contest) after leaving Game 5 of the Western Conference Semifinals with a strained right calf. He wound up missing the entire Western Conference Finals after it became apparent that the injury was "more serious" than initially thought.

Yahoo Sports' Chris Haynes reported that the four-time scoring champ was expected to return midway through the Finals, with Games 3 and 4 viewed as realistic options. However, Kerr quickly put an end to any speculation that Durant would be available for Game 3 by declaring him out on Tuesday:

SportsCenter @SportsCenter

Warriors owner Joe Lacob says he expects to see KD on the floor at some point during the #NBAFinals. https://t.co/S5fcgjuYIo

Kerr noted, though, that Durant was expected to get on the court at the practice facility on Tuesday.

While Durant still has work to do before he can play in the series, Kerr revealed on Sunday that it is "feasible" that the forward would be cleared once he participates in one practice. 

Durant led Golden State in scoring this postseason before he got hurt, averaging a career-high 34.2 points on 51.3 percent shooting in 11 games. The Warriors are 6-1 during Durant's absence, improving their record to 32-2 in the last 34 games that Stephen Curry plays and Durant doesn't.

Durant's health has become even more important as Klay Thompson is questionable for Game 3 after suffering a hamstring injury in Game 2 and Kevon Looney is out indefinitely with a broken collarbone.

The 2019 Finals are tied at one game apiece as the series shifts to Oracle Arena.