Golden State Warriors star Kevin Durant will be sidelined for a minimum of one month due to a knee injury he suffered on Tuesday against the Washington Wizards.
His absence will be felt by the Warriors on both ends of the court as the team looks to win its second NBA title in three seasons.
Warriors’ stars Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green and Co. will have to carry on while Durant is sidelined for what could be the rest of the regular season and possibly longer.
Durant suffered a sprained MCL of the left knee as well as a bone bruise on the same leg. The Warriors will now have to play without their leading scoring on the offensive end and their leading shot blocker on defense.
The top team in the NBA will push toward the postseason without Durant who leads them in scoring and rebounding for at least March and likely into part of April.
On Wednesday, Golden State said its medical staff did not yet rule out a return by Durant before the regular season ends, though it is predicted he will not.
The high scoring forward suffered his injury in Golden State’s loss to Washington Tuesday 112-108 and underwent an MRI that revealed his moderate MCL strain and bruised tibia.
In four weeks, the Warriors medical staff will reevaluate Durant is if at that time he has fully recovered it would leave only two weeks of the regular season remaining.
Durant returned to Oakland to start rehabilitation while the Warriors head to play the Chicago Bulls continuing a stretch of 8 games over a period of 13 days crisscrossing the country.
Golden State became the earliest NBA team in league history to clinch a berth in the playoffs when they defeated Brooklyn Saturday and are focused now on securing the Western Conference’s top seed.
Durant is averaging 25.3 points, 8.2 rebounds and 4.8 assists per game during this first season at Golden State. With a record of 50-10, Golden State has the best record in the NBA.
It is expected that Golden State will sign veteran Matt Barnes to fill in for Durant. However, the Warriors did not confirm nor deny Barnes would take the roster spot of Durant during the star’s rehab.
Golden State lost the NBA Finals last season in seven games to the Cleveland Cavaliers. Odds makers predict that both teams will once again return to battle for the NBA title this season in June.
If that happens, it will be the first time in NBA history that the same two teams have played in the NBA finals three straight seasons.