Official word from the Warriors early Monday afternoon was that Kevin Durant’s status for Game 5 of the NBA Finals will not be determined until an hour or two before tipoff.
That’s just language, according to multiple league sources that insist Durant will be in the starting lineup as the Warriors try to resuscitate their hopes for a third consecutive championship.
Durant has been sidelined for 32 days with a strained right calf. He returned to the practice floor on Sunday for a light afternoon workout, followed by a more strenuous session a few hours later.
Having passed those tests, Durant participated in the team’s shootaround Monday morning and also did well.
"He looked good," coach Steve Kerr, adding that Durant will be "a game-time decision."
Durant will continue to receive treatment before game time, but he has experienced no setbacks since the Warriors arrived Saturday afternoon.
"You worry about the conditioning," Kerr said. "The skill obviously is undeniable. He’s a guy who can get his shot off any time he wants. He’s been in similar situations with us, where he’s had long layoffs. He’s Kevin Durant. So, if we have him out there, he’ll be a threat. I know that."
The Warriors surely need anything Durant can provide. Their rotations are out of sync and often ineffective. Their scoring is down, and so is their defense.
With Durant’s unavailability, along with several other injuries, they’re not the team that has won back-to-back championships.
His return will bring them much closer to that level.