OAKLAND, Calif. -- That loud, annoying sound permeating from the depths of Oracle Arena is the ticking of the all-important clock. With Kevin Durant for Friday's NBA Finals Game 4 against the Toronto Raptors, the most the Golden State Warriors will get from their All-NBA superstar is three NBA Finals games, and even that seems to be in doubt based on the information the team has provided.
Early on in Durant's injury recovery, the message was clear: Durant will have to go through at least one full practice with teammates before even being considered for reinstatement. Over the past week, because of the limited time between Game 3 and Game 4, Warriors coach Steve Kerr said that perhaps some work with teammates and assistant coaches, either 3-on-3 or 5-on-5 would take place on Thursday. That didn't happen. In fact, Kerr said that type of group activity might not take place until the weekend. Kerr insisted it was an issue of miscommunication, and not of Durant suffering a setback.
"Well, no, there was no setback," Kerr said on Thursday. "So I was hoping that today would be the day when he could get out on the floor. It's not going to be today. It's going to be probably tomorrow, the following day, the next couple of days.
"So the hope would be that he could still make it back at the end of the series. But he did not have a setback. I'm getting asked a million questions every day, and so sometimes I might answer something that doesn't jibe perfectly with what the training staff saw that morning. So I probably misspoke last night. I thought today was a day, his day to get out on the floor, but he still has another hurdle to clear before he can do that, and so that's the next step."
Kerr sounds understandably as confused and frustrated with the situation as most of the NBA fan base probably is at this point -- with the exception of Raptors fans and those who actively root against KD. Part of the problem, according to what Kerr's said since Day 1 of the Durant Calf Saga, is that there will never be a true timetable. Everything depends on how the calf responds on any given day. That's why one day it may sound like Durant is close to return, then the next day it sounds like there's no chance he'll return before the end of the Finals.
Even Draymond Green, his teammate and one of the Warriors' most outspoken leaders, is clueless to Durant's progress.
"I think he's just trying to get healthy," Green said on Thursday. "I'm not really sure if he's been held out or he is -- I mean, obviously, I think he's still recovering and whatever, but, yeah, I don't really know what's Kevin's day-to-day dealings with the training staff. I try to spend as less time in the training room as I can. So I don't really know what their back and forth is."
With, sitting him out in Game 3, then about 12 hours later declaring him healthy for Game 4, there's certainly reason to be skeptical of Durant returning within the next week and a half. But if he is able to return, even at less than full strength, he'll have a devastating affect on this series, one way or another.
"Kevin's a competitor, and as a competitor, when you step out there on the floor, hurt or not or just coming back from an injury or not, you're going to give everything you got," Green said. "He's way better than a lot of people when he's a hundred percent. So if he's 75 percent, he'll still probably be better than a lot of people. So we'll see if he's able to come back or not."