OAKLAND — For weeks, Kevin Durant’s encouraging left knee rehab has put him on track to return before the regular season ends. If the Warriors needed to push it — like if Tuesday was a must-win playoff game — there’s a sense that Durant is already at the point that he could play in a game.
But the Warriors have been understandably cautious in the final stages of his rehab process. Steve Kerr has already said Durant won’t play on Tuesday against the Timberwolves or Wednesday in Phoenix. Now ESPN is reporting that the Warriors have targeted Saturday’s home game against the Pelicans as Durant’s targeted return.
Things could always hit a late snag, should Durant experience an unlikely setback. But if not, he should be on track to play the team’s final three games — all at home, with Saturday’s return coming after an off-day on Thursday and a practice on Friday, giving him one final full-tilt situation to make sure he’s fully ready.
Kerr has already said Durant will return directly to the starting lineup upon return, but won’t play his usual 30-plus minutes per night, at first returning to shorter bursts and limited minutes while he works back into playing shape.
Following Saturday’s game against the Pelicans, the Warriors face the Jazz on Monday and the Lakers on Wednesday to close out the regular season. The playoffs start that weekend.