TORONTO - - Golden State forward Kevin Durant, returning from a month-long injury absence, started Game 5 for the Warriors as they faced elimination Monday night in the NBA Finals but exited in the second quarter after apparently aggravating his calf strain.
Durant had 11 points, two rebounds and one block to help the Warriors set the early pace.
Four minutes into the third quarter, the Warriors announced Durant would not return due to a right lower leg injury. An MRI exam is scheduled for Tuesday.
Early in the fourth quarter, ABC’s broadcast showed Durant leaving the building in a walking boot on crutches with his agent, Rich Kleiman.
The Warriors also lost Kevon Looney in the fourth quarter. Looney re-aggravated a rib injury suffered earlier in the series. The Warriors announced with eight minutes left in the game that Looney would not return.
At halftime, ABC reporter Doris Burke said on the game broadcast, “Durant’s agent and Warriors general manager Bob Myers were in the locker room with Durant. Due to the raw emotion of the situation, he was not immediately evaluated and the team is giving him his space.”
Burke said she spoke with Warriors head coach Steve Kerr returning to the court after halftime and he said of his message to the team, “You tell them to keep going, keep competing. Obviously we’re all worried and thinking of Kevin right now.”
Renowned former San Diego Chargers team doctor David J. Chao tweeted about Durant, “KD clearly grabbing at Achilles. Not saying complete tear but that is too low to be called calf. Bad news, his finals are done even if there is a game 7. Good news, should not affect his free agency.”
In his first game since Game 5 of the Western Conference semifinals against the Houston Rockets, Durant grabbed for his right Achilles and calf area while attempting to drive past Toronto Raptors forward Serge Ibaka with 9:46 to play in the first half. The Warriors were leading 39-34, and the home crowd erupted with cheers as Durant crumbled to the hardwood.
Ibaka and Kyle Lowry motioned to hush the fans as Durant was walked to the other end of the court and down the tunnel to the locker room.
The Raptors held a 3-1 series lead and were aiming to close out the championship series at home on Monday night.
Durant had missed nine games but was cleared to return to practice Sunday.
Kerr said pregame there would be no minutes restriction on Durant if he did play.
“You worry about the conditioning,” Kerr said. “The skill, obviously, is undeniable. He’s a guy who can get a shot off anytime he wants. ... He’s Kevin Durant. If we have him out there, he’ll be a threat. We know that.”
Durant averaged 26 points, 6.4 rebounds and 5.9 assists per game in the regular season. During the postseason, he is producing 34.2 points, 5.2 rebounds and 4.9 assists per game entering Monday.
“The most difficult thing is just not being able to be out there with your teammates at the biggest time of the year,” Kerr said. “From that perspective, I have just felt bad for him. We all have. If you have a chance to play, go play and see what happens.”
—Field Level Media