ESPN — The Golden State Warriors aren’t scheduled to formally update the status of Kevin Durant’s left knee until next week, but there is cautious optimism within the organization that Durant — should he maintain his current recovery arc — will be able to return to the court before the end of the regular season, according to league sources.
While noting that Durant is roughly at the halfway stage of his recovery period, sources told ESPN.com that the Warriors are encouraged by the progress Durant has made in the 22 days since he suffered a sprained MCL and tibial bone bruise in his left knee on Feb. 28.
Welp, those few weeks of thinking he’d be out until mid May were fun while they lasted, huh? I genuinely allowed myself to believe it. I didn’t just think it was a possiblity… I convinced myself of it. Bought into all of the potential scenarios where Golden State would maybe face a scare.
Oh, wow. Well, I don’t like to see injuries… but it’s not the worst thing in the world for the league, right? Maybe he’s out until the second round, not really healthy until the conference finals, and never truly back to form. Maybe a Durantless W’s team gets a scare from a young team like Denver or Minnesota in the first and we get some fun games out of it. Maybe Durant isn’t fully ready for the Jazz or Clippers series in the second, and the W’s get a scare. Maybe he’s not totally right against San Antonio or Houston in the Conference Finals, and it goes seven, and well… you never know. Maybe Kawhi or Harden is the best player in that series. And maybe…
Now look, I still think we’re going to get some awesome second round series. San Antonio-Houston and Boston-Washington will both be AWESOME. Seven games each. Always close. Really fun individual matchups within the games. Kawhi vs. Harden. Isaiah vs. Wall. Four extremely fun teams to watch.
Cleveland-Toronto or Cleveland-Milwaukee? Very fun, especially the latter. I mean… Cleveland will win. Likely in five, maybe six games. But four or five of those games will be really fun. Toronto is tougher and more well rounded with Ibaka and Turner and could absolutely push Cleveland much more-so than in years before. And the idea of a Lebron-Giannis, Kyrie-DELLY set of mano a mano battles HAS to get even the most casual of NBA fans a little tight in the pants.
The stinker comes in the form of healthy Golden State vs. anyone. LA, Utah, OKC, Memphis. The only team with the potential to win a game in that group is Utah. And it would still be two blowouts, a sneaky Utah win in Utah for game three, a Warriors blowout in game four, and maybe a somewhat competitive game five as the Warriors close it out at home. Sure, a Durantless Golden State still owns OKC and LA and would only allow Utah or Memphis to win one. But at least those games would at least be more competitive. Now they’ll all be blowouts.
Now those games will stink, and we’ll get an extremely well rested Golden State team vs. a Spurs or Rockets team coming off an absolute BATTLE. The differences in the four Spurs-Rockets games this year have been 2, 2, 6, and 2. Every one of those games will be a battle, and it’s not unreasonable to think it’ll take a game or two for either team to get their legs back after that inevitable game seven.
I still think San Antonio and Houston could absolutely compete with Golden State. But going into that series vs. a well rested, healthy Warriors team is a pretty brutal disadvantage to overcome.
Well folks,, the dream was fun while it lasted. See you in June, Golden State.