Home Sports Kevin Durant’s earliest return would be next Saturday against New Orleans

Kevin Durant’s earliest return would be next Saturday against New Orleans

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			Kevin Durant’s earliest return would be next Saturday against New Orleans

OAKLAND — The Kevin Durant Return Watch will continue for at least two more games after Sunday’s game at Oracle Arena against the Washington Wizards, as coach Steve Kerr ruled the All-Star forward out of the Tuesday’s home game against Minnesota and Wednesday’s road contest at Phoenix.

That puts Saturday’s home game against the New Orleans Pelicans as the most likely date of Durant’s long-awaited return. That would give him a three-game regular-season tuneup for the NBA playoffs. Then again, Kerr joked Sunday that could be up in the air as well.

“I may not play him, we’re so much better without him,” Kerr said. “That’s what Raymond (Ridder, media relations chief) said, there have been some stories about us being better without him, so I’m going to go with that, maybe bring him off the bench for spot minutes depending on matchups.”

Speaking more seriously, Kerr said that Durant does finally play, he will start him immediately and monitor his minutes closely.

“Hopefully we can get him in for a couple of regular-season games,” the coach said. “We’ll see how it goes. We’ll see what the training staff says. I’m not too worried about incorporating him because he’s been with us all season and fit right in from the beginning. So whenever he gets back, we’ll plug him back in there and watch his minutes.

“That’s the main thing, just watching him physically. I’m not worried about incorporating him into our schemes and all that stuff.”

Durant’s limited minutes upon his return could impact the fluidity of the team’s rotations, but Kerr maintained he wasn’t too worried about that, either.

“We haven’t really talked about it as a staff yet as to how we’ll play it,” he said. “I will start him, and I’ll have to play him in shorter bursts, and we’ll figure out our rotations from there. The good thing is we’re accustomed to playing different roles with different rotations … I feel comfortable with our guys just mixing and matching and being confident in what they do.”

Durant was injured Feb. 28 in a game at Washington. He sustained an MCL sprain and a bone bruise in his left leg when teammate Zaza Pachulia rolled into Durant after being thrown aside by Washington’s Marcin Gortat.​

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