Warriors' Kevon Looney Will Start NBA Finals Game 6 Despite Chest Injury

Paul KasabianSenior ContributorJune 13, 2019

TORONTO, ONTARIO - JUNE 10:  Kevon Looney #5 of the Golden State Warriors goes for the rebound against the Toronto Raptors during Game Five of the 2019 NBA Finals at Scotiabank Arena on June 10, 2019 in Toronto, Canada. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Pool - Kyle Terada/Getty Images)
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Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr told reporters before Game 6 of the NBA Finals on Thursday that forward/center Kevon Looney is available to play against the Toronto Raptors.

"He's doing decently," Kerr said. "We'll see how he holds up."

Per Connor Letourneau of the San Francisco Chronicle, Looney will also get the starting nod:

Connor Letourneau @Con_Chron

Kevon Looney, who is dealing with a fracture near his chest, will start at center for the Warriors in Game 6 alongside Iguodala, Green, Thompson and Curry.

Looney suffered a right first costal cartilage non-displaced fracture in Game 2 that held him to just 10 minutes in that contest and forced him off the court entirely for Game 3. He returned in Game 4 and played 20 minutes, but he left Game 5 early after 18 minutes following an injury reaggravation.

He was listed as questionable leading up to Game 6 before Kerr gave the official word on Looney's status.

The 23-year-old has averaged 5.8 points and 3.3 rebounds in 19.0 minutes per game during the NBA Finals, which the Raptors lead 3-2.

Game 6 is Thursday at 9 p.m. in what will be the final game at Oracle Arena, the Warriors' Oakland, California home. 

The Warriors are slight 2.5-point favorites over the Raptors, per Caesars, and they could use Looney to help tie the series at three.

The ex-UCLA Bruin is an efficient offensive asset. His 6.3 points per game came on 62.5 percent shooting. Per ESPN.com, he ranked seventh in offensive real plus-minus among 70 qualified power forwards.

Looney also excelled on the defensive end, where he was 24th in real plus-minus.

The three-year veteran has clearly played through pain over the last two days, and it got so bad that teammate Andre Iguodala revealed to reporters that he had to tell his teammate to stop playing.

"Kevon couldn't play tonight," Iguodala told reporters after Game 5. "I had to tell him, 'Don't play anymore.'

"We always talk about how this team is with one another, but people still don't really grasp what we're talking about. When we say this is a real brotherhood with this team, people have no clue what goes into that."

Per Looney's comments to reporters, the injury can't get any worse, making pain the largest problem during this series:

Mark Medina @MarkG_Medina

Kevon Looney sounded optimistic about playing in Game 6. Looney said training staff said injury can’t worsen and it’s a pain threshold issue. And Looney vowed he will keep getting treatment and play through it

Looney's on-court presence is undoubtedly impressive given his serious injury, and we'll see if he can help the Warriors send the series back to Toronto for a deciding Game 7.