Warriors fans can take a breath of relief: Kevin Durant looked to be ahead of schedule Saturday in terms of recovering from his left knee sprain.
The former MVP, who suffered a grade 2 MCL sprain as well as a tibial bone bruise Feb. 28 vs. Washington, was seen taking jump shots and three-pointers during morning shoot-around on Saturday morning. This marks a milestone in the process that is getting Durant healthy enough for the playoffs.
— C.J. Peterson (@CJ_Peterson1) March 18, 2017
Durant is scheduled to be re-evaluated March 29 by team doctors, after MRI results revealed no structural damage within the knee March 1. But Durant looks to be ahead of even that time table.
Warriors teammate Stephen Curry said:
“You can tell he’s making improvements and following the game plan that they set for him. Seeing him in the weight room, doing his cardio and stuff, trying to stay as close to game shape as he can while he’s hurt. You like to see improvements every day.”
Typically the type of injury Durant sustained takes between four and eight weeks to properly heal. But being able to jump without pain looks like a good sign for a Warriors team that has struggled without Durant’s presence.
So far during the month of March, the Warriors without Durant have averaged only 102.4 points per game, 14 points less than the 116.7 points they averaged before Durant went down.
On top of that, the Warriors shooting percentage has fallen mightily in the month of March, to just 38.6 percent from the floor. This marks a nearly five percent drop from February, when the team shot at a 43.2 percent clip.
Despite the offensive drop off, and even with Durant’s improvement, some Warriors would rather have him take the time he needs rather than rush back in order to finish the regular season.
Draymond Green said:
“Whenever he’s ready, obviously we want him back out there, but I just feel like that’s not a process you really try to interrupt. All of a sudden you start talking about it and then he getting an itch and so the knee is probably feeling better, but it may not be exactly where it needs to be. … But he get that itching and he starts feeling pressure from the team. Like i’ve seen that happen before. So just kind of let a guy be, go at his own pace, do what he gotta do and when he’s ready, we’ll know.”
Tuesday will mark the third week since Durant’s injury and one week until the re-evaluation date arrives. So while it looks as though Durant is ahead of schedule, word on whether he’ll play or not in the immediate future won’t be heard until then.
The good news is that Durant looks as though he’ll at least be back in time for a playoff push. That alone is something Warriors fans can at breathe easy about.