Golden State’s Kevin Durant suffered a mild strain to his right calf and will miss the rest of the Warriors’ Western Conference semifinal series with the Houston Rockets, the team said Thursday. He will be reevaluated next week.
“I think it’s good news,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. “Calf strain, he’s had them before. He’s responded well. Obviously, we’re disappointed he won’t be able to play in this series. If we’re able to win the series and move on, looks good for his return in the not too distant future.”
Durant will not travel with the team for Game 6 on Friday in Houston and will remain in the Bay Area for treatment.
The Warriors lead the series, 3-2, and Kerr was upbeat about his team’s mindset heading into Game 6.
“It’s the playoffs, it’s the ultimate test. We’re in a great spot, we’re up 3-2. We have championship rings,” Kerr said. “This group will never be doubted. This group has nothing to prove. There’s a freedom in that.
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“We’re being hit with injuries which is a part of it. One of the reasons it’s so hard to win a championship because things like this happen. We’ve been with injuries in this past during this run. This is probably the hardest we’ve been hit with DeMarcus (Cousins) and Kevin. The challenge is here, right there in front of our guys. We just have to win one game so let’s do it.
Game 6 is Friday night at 9 p.m., and a potential Game 7 would be at Golden State on Sunday.
Durant’s injury occurred with 2:11 left in the third quarter of Game 5 on Wednesday night as Durant went up for a jumper over Rockets swingman Iman Shumpert. Durant did not appear to make contact with Shumpert, but after landing, he took a few steps up the court, then clutched his right leg. Durant limped toward the Rockets’ bench, and after a few moments, he went straight to the Warriors’ locker room, accompanied by trainers and general manager Bob Myers.
Kerr and guard Stephen Curry noted that Durant was understandably down after the injury, but there was a palpable sense of relief within the locker room that his injury wasn’t more severe. Initially, players and coaches feared that Durant tore his Achilles tendon, but Kerr was told by the Warriors’ medical staff that was not the case.