Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr has played down the severity of Kevin Durant’s injury.
The 30-year-old made a basket late in the third quarter in Game 5 of the Warriors’ Western Conference semi-final series against the Houston Rockets but then grabbed his right calf, went to the locker room and did not return to the game.
It had been feared that his season was over but Kerr said when asked how badly Durant was injured, replied: “I think it’s good news.
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.
“But if we’re able to win the series and move on, it looks good for his return in the not too distant future.”
Golden State lead the Rockets 3-2 in the series but Durant’s importance to the team is highlighted by the fact that in 11 post-season games this year he is averaging 34.2 points in 39.1 minutes, which are both team highs.
Kerr added that the team’s championship experience should help it get past missing “the best player in the NBA playoffs” so far.
The Warriors are looking to reach their fifth straight Western Conference finals while Houston are aiming to become the first Western Conference team to beat Golden State in the playoffs since the Clippers beat them in a first-round series in 2014.
The Warriors, who have beaten the Cleveland Cavaliers in the NBA Finals in each of the last two years, are 2.15 to triumph again this year while Houston can be backed at 6.00.