Kevin Durant will miss at least four weeks with a sprained MCL and bone bruise in his left leg, but the rest of the league isn’t exactly jumping for joy. That’s because Durant is expected back for the playoffs.
“I think it would have changed it if the injury were more serious,” The Vertical’s Bobby Marks said on CBS Sports Radio’s Gio and Jones. “Bone bruises are a little bit tricky, but I think the timing is right. If this would have happened in mid-May during the Western Conference semifinals, then yeah, I think you’d be concerned where they were going from a Finals standpoint. But they still have a very good team. They got three All-Stars with Curry, Thompson and Green. They’ve got to hold off San Antonio.”
The Warriors (50-10) lead the Spurs (46-13) by 3.5 games entering play March 2.
“There’s a big difference from being at 1 compared to 2,” Marks said. “One gets you probably Denver, who is a young and up-and-coming team but it’s never been in the playoffs, and two might get you Oklahoma City – Oklahoma City, Memphis, Utah, (one of those teams). But I think they’ll hold on. I really do. I think they’ve got enough here. Twelve of their next 22 games, I believe, are against teams below .500, and they’ve got a bunch of games at home here. I think they dodged a little bit of a bullet with this Durant injury.”
It also helps that the Warriors have experience playing without a star player.
“It’s almost like with the Curry injury last year during that first-round series against Houston,” Marks said. “He figured a way to come back in the next series against Portland. He was a little bit rusty, but good enough to get that team back to an NBA Finals. (Andre) Iguodala will pick up the slack a little bit. I think the one thing you just have to monitor a little bit is some of the minutes for some of the older players like Iguodala, even a Shaun Livingston. You’re going to sign Matt Barnes later this week, and he’ll help. Although older, there were certainly some good moments for him in Sacramento. Now you’ve got a little bit of a different personality. You’ve got Barnes and Green, and I think that’s where you see Steve Kerr, how good he is as far as managing players. Sometimes we get caught up in X’s and O’s and everything, but it’s managing that locker room and managing these guys on the court.”
Golden State plays Chicago (30-30) on the road Thursday. Tip-off is at 8 p.m. ET.