Draymond Green is still unavailable but Kevin Durant could return to action Thursday, according to Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr.
Durant has been on the sidelines since March 11 due to rib soreness and will miss his sixth consecutive game when the Warriors take on the Indiana Pacers on Tuesday night.
The 2017 NBA Finals MVP wanted to return against the Pacers but given the Bay Area side’s current injury crisis, Kerr preferred to err on the side of caution, adding that a likely return could be on Thursday against the Milwaukee Bucks.
“He’s [Durant] doing great,” Kerr said, as quoted on ESPN. “He wanted to play tonight and we didn’t let him, but we’ll probably let him play Thursday.”
“We’re just trying to be smart. When KD feels like he’s ready to go, we’re going to give him two extra days until the next game just to be really safe. I mean, the last thing we want is for anybody to reinjure something or have something linger, so we’re going to be extra cautious with everybody,” he said.
Kerr is right to be cautious as the Warriors are already playing without their four NBA All-Stars and have notably lost five of their last eight regular season games, putting them at great risk of not finishing top of the Western Conference for the first time since 2014.
Klay Thompson has been out since March 11 with a fractured thumb but is expected to be back in a week while Stephen Curry will miss the rest of the regular season after suffering a Grade 2 MCL sprain last week. The latter will be reevaluated on April 14 but is unlikely to make it in time for the first round of the NBA playoffs, according to Kerr.
Green, meanwhile, last featured against the Spurs on March 19 as he failed to complete the game after a pelvic contusion. The 28-year-old was expected to return for Sunday’s heavy defeat against the Utah Jazz but was ruled out with flu-like symptoms.
Like Durant, Green also wanted to play against the Pacers but was rested to remain on the safe side as he is still experiencing “a lot of discomfort.”
“He [Green] came to shootaround this morning and got a good sweat, but still was reporting a lot of discomfort and hasn’t been healthy in terms of keeping food down,” Kerr added. “So the illness is still lingering. He wanted to play, but we didn’t let him either.”
With just nine games left in the regular season, the Warriors’ (54-19) recent results see them all but surrender their place as the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference with the Houston Rockets continuing their blistering form.
The Rockets outclassed the Chicago Bulls in a 118-86 win Tuesday to take their regular season record to 61-14, having won their last 10 games straight.