OAKLAND, Calif. — The Golden State Warriors are hobbling through the N.B.A. finals. Calf strains. Hamstring pulls. Sprained ankles. Even something called a nondisplaced first costal cartilage fracture, which will prevent the reserve forward Kevon Looney from playing again in the series against the Toronto Raptors.
Golden State, which is tied with Toronto at a game apiece in the best-of-seven series entering Wednesday’s Game 3, has become something of a revolving door: As soon as one player is finally able to return to court, another seems to head straight to the training room.
So even as the Warriors have been bolstered in the series by the return of center DeMarcus Cousins, who has missed most of the playoffs with a torn left quadriceps, Coach Steve Kerr said Tuesday that shooting guard Klay Thompson was questionable for Game 3 because a mild left hamstring strain and that forward Kevin Durant would not play, though he appears to be edging closer to a return. Durant has been sidelined since May 8 after straining his right calf against the Houston Rockets in the Western Conference semifinals.
The Warriors are appearing in their fifth straight N.B.A. finals, and Kerr suggested that the wear-and-tear was an inevitable byproduct of so many title chases.
“Just the way it goes,” he said. “We’ve been playing 100-plus games for five years now — not all of our players, but our team. So we have a lot of guys who have played long, difficult seasons. They take great care of themselves. But there’s a certain amount of luck involved with it, too, and we know that. We have been on both sides of that.”
He added: “It’s part of the deal. You just keep pushing forward.”
The Warriors evened the series with a 109-104 victory in Toronto on Sunday night, but the win was costly. Looney sustained his injury — the aforementioned costal fracture, near the right side of his collarbone — when he collided with the Raptors’ Kawhi Leonard, and Thompson strained his hamstring when he landed awkwardly after attempting a 3-pointer.
On Monday, after the team returned to Oakland, Thompson underwent a magnetic resonance imaging examination that revealed the extent of his injury. On Tuesday, he was doing on-court work with his teammates at Oracle Arena when the news media was allowed to enter for interviews.
Thompson said it would be up to the team’s training staff to determine whether he would play in Game 3.
“Obviously, I would do anything I can to be out there,” he said. “But it’s all in their hands. If there’s any pain, it will be a no-go just because of the position we’re in. This could be a longer series, so there’s no point in trying to go out there and re-aggravate it and potentially keep myself out of the whole entire finals instead of just one game.”
Kerr said the team would not take unnecessary risks.
“If the training staff feels good about his ability to go out there and play without making things worse, then he’ll play,” Kerr said. “But if there’s a risk, we would rather give him the next couple of days to continue to heal and hopefully have him out there for Game 4. But it’s literally day to day.”
Game 4 is scheduled for Friday night in Oakland.
As for Looney, he has played a pivotal role off the bench for the Warriors in the postseason, averaging 7.2 points and 4.6 rebounds in 20.3 minutes a game. With Looney on the court, the Warriors have outscored their playoff opponents by a total of 105 points.
Without him, the Warriors are expected to rely even more on Cousins, who is still limited — and will be for the duration of the series.
“It’s not anything that’s going to be a problem long term,” Kerr said of Looney. “But it’s going to keep him out for the rest of the series, which is obviously a big blow for us and for him. He’s had such a great season, such a great postseason run. Fortunately it won’t affect his future, but it’s a big loss for us.”
Durant has been making progress, Kerr said. The star forward was expected to do individual training session on Tuesday afternoon, but Kerr did not offer a timetable for Durant’s return.
Even Curry has had his issues. After scoring 23 in Sunday’s win, he told reporters that he was feeling ill.
“Don’t really know what the cause was,” he said at the time. “Just didn’t feel right.”
On Tuesday, Curry gave no indication that anything was wrong. He described the team’s mentality amid so many health concerns.
“Be ready to go, compete, have fun doing it,” he said. “Whoever is out there on the floor, just feel like you can help us win the game. A lot of guys showed that resiliency in Game 2. It’s going to have to continue for us to get three more wins.”
Source: Read Full Article