Golden State Warriors forward Kevin Durant has made enough progress in his recovery from a Grade 2 MCL sprain that his team is hopeful he can return before the end of the regular season, according to ESPN.com’s Marc Stein and Chris Haynes.
The Warriors are scheduled to formally update Durant’s status next week, according to the report, but they are cautiously optimistic that if he maintains this level of recovery, he could return before the playoffs begin in April. Golden State will now monitor Durant’s response to increased intensity in rehab work.
Durant injured his left leg early in a Feb. 28 loss to the Washington Wizards after Warriors big man Zaza Pachulia accidentally fell into his knee. The Warriors said Durant would be reevaluated after a month.
The Warriors were a shell of their championship selves without their former MVP, though they have rebounded of late with four convincing victories in a row.
Durant averaged 25 points, 8.2 rebounds, 4.8 assists, and 1.6 blocks per game, solidifying himself as the team’s leading scorer, rebounder, and shot blocker this season. Golden State is currently 7-5 since his injury after going 50-9 beforehand.
Over the summer, Durant made the decision to leave Oklahoma City for a Golden State team that eliminated his Thunder during last season’s Western Conference Finals. He signed a two-year, $54 million contract with a player option for the second year — one he is expected to decline in order to re-sign with the Warriors for a maximum contract.
It makes sense to get Durant back on the floor during the regular season, if he’s able.
Getting a near 100 percent KD back before the playoffs hit would allow the Warriors to re-acclimate to having their best player back on the floor. It would allow for Durant to get game action under his belt without the pressure that comes in a playoff atmosphere.
While the Warriors should not rush him back to the floor, getting their All-Star forward back before the postseason would be a blessing for a team looking to make its third consecutive NBA Finals appearance.