NBA Finals: Kevin Durant's injury absence causing 'confusion and angst' among Warriors teammates, per report

Kevin Durant's extended absence from the 2019 NBA Finals is having a negative impact on the Golden State Warriors, apparently both on and off the court. 

According to a report from Sam Amick of The Athletic, Durant's calf injury is causing some angst within the Warriors organization, as the team is not sure when -- or if -- Durant will be able to return to in-game action during the Finals. 

From The Athletic

At the very least, Durant's absence that began back on May 8 is causing a mixture of confusion and angst among several of his teammates that simply can't be helpful to their overall cause. Sources say there was a very real hope that Durant would be able to play in Game 4, to push through in much the same way that Thompson, Cousins, Iguodala and Looney have done of late. When that didn't happen, and when they saw their season compromised more than ever without him after they'd grown hopeful of his return after seeing him on the court, the irritation grew in large part because they simply didn't understand why he wasn't there.

Warriors officials aren't running from the reality that there's frustration among some players, but they're also quick to point out that trainer Rick Celebrini – not Durant – is making this call. And until Celebrini gives Durant the go-ahead, his long and painful stretch of absences will extend into this pivotal Warriors summer where his free agency future remains unclear. What's more, two sources insist that the Warriors have believed for quite some time that Game 5 was the earliest time in which he would likely return.

Whether or not Durant returns for Game 5 of the Finals on Monday night in Toronto remains to be seen, but based on recent reports, it doesn't look good. Following the Warriors' Game 4 loss, ESPN's Brian Windhorst reported that Durant struggled during practice, and just doesn't appear ready to play.   

Even if Durant is ultimately cleared to play in Game 5, one would have to wonder about the level of rust that he would be dealing with after being sidelined for over a month. But, Durant at even 60 or 70 percent would provide a big boost to the Warriors, who have looked lost without him at times against the Raptors

Since signing with the Warriors in 2016, many have referred to Durant as a "luxury" for a team that had already won a title without him. While his return remains a major question mark, one thing has become clear during Durant's absence: He's much closer to a necessity than a luxury for the Warriors. 

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