Bad news could be arriving to Oakland, California soon.
The Vertical’s Adrian Wojnarowski is reporting that the Golden State Warriors fear that superstar forward Kevin Durant will miss the remainder of the 2016-2017 regular season due to a knee injury suffered on Tuesday night in the team’s 112-108 loss to the Washington Wizards in Durant’s hometown.
Durant sustained the knee injury in the 1st quarter of the game after his teammate Zaza Pachulia fell onto his leg/knee. Golden State called timeout right away, and Durant tried to convince the Warriors training staff to let him stay in the game before he headed to the locker room.
The initial diagnosis that the Warriors revealed to the public on Durant’s injury was a hyper-extended left knee, but even then that’s an injury that would’ve likely kept Durant out three games. Milwaukee Bucks forward Michael Beasley is missing three games with a hyper-extended knee, and his looked way more graphic on video than Durant’s.
Durant underwent an MRI overnight in Washington, and once the results comeback to the Warriors, they will be released to the public.
If Golden State’s fear about Durant missing months and not weeks with the injury is right, it will be the second major injury of the 2013-2014 NBA MVP’s career year. The year after his MVP year, Durant was limited to just 27 games due to a foot injury, and had only missed one game this season with a wrist injury up until this point.
As far as the Warriors preparing for life without Durant with their roster, it appears they’ve already started. The team is expected to sign veteran forward Matt Barnes on Wednesday, and waive guard Jose Calderon immediately after they sign him to clear the roster spot for Barnes.
While a small forward rotation along the lines of Andre Iguodala, Barnes, and rookie Patrick McCaaw won’t make up for Durant’s production, the good news for the Warriors is that they’ve already clinched a playoff spot for the upcoming NBA Playoffs that will begin in April. Golden State also proved last year without Durant how good they were by winning 73 regular season games.
It was clear the Warriors made Durant their number one option, and sent Stephen Curry to a second option role when it comes to scoring. Klay Thompson is still relatively giving head coach Steve Kerr the same production, but out of last year’s Warriors, Draymond Green might have sacrificed the most.
With Durant’s status up in the air, you can expect to see the Warriors turn back to Curry running the show on offense, while Green will see his workload also increased. Candidates to step-up off the bench include Barnes, Shaun Livingston, and David West.
The 28-year-old Durant is averaging 25.3 points, 8.2 rebounds, and 4.8 assists per game this season on 53% shooting from the floor, 37% shooting from three-point range, and 87% from the free throw line.
We will have a new version of this story once Durant's official MRI results come in.
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