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Warriors' title bid takes major hit as 'best player in the NBA' ruled out of Rockets series

Kevin Durant suffered a strained right calf.

Kevin Durant limps off the court during Game 5 against the Houston Rockets.
Kevin Durant limps off the court during Game 5 against the Houston Rockets.
Image: Ben Margot

GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS star Kevin Durant will miss the remainder of the series against the Houston Rockets after an MRI scan revealed a strained right calf, the reigning league champions said Thursday.

Coach Steve Kerr made the announcement and said others are going to have to pick up the slack.

“He’s been the best player in the NBA in the playoffs. He’s been phenomenal,” Kerr said. “Guys who haven’t had opportunities yet (in this series) will have opportunities.”

Durant, averaging a league-best 34.2 points in the playoffs, was removed in the third quarter of Golden State’s 104-99 home victory Wednesday over Houston, which gave the Warriors a 3-2 edge in their best-of-seven NBA Western Conference second-round series.

There were fears Durant might have suffered a more extensive injury, but the team said in a statement the MRI confirmed the initial diagnosis of a right calf strain.

Durant will not travel with the Warriors to Houston for game six, instead remaining in the San Francisco Bay region for treatment ahead of being re-evaluated next week.

“I think it’s good news,” Kerr said. “Calf strain, he’s had them before. He’s responded well. Obviously, we’re disappointed he won’t be able to play in this series. If we’re able to win the series and move on, looks good for his return in the not too distant future.”

Durant is an NBA finals Most Valuable Player the past two seasons after leading the Warriors to back-to-back crowns.

He has also averaged 5.2 rebounds, 4.9 assists, 1.2 steals and 1.0 blocked shots a game for the Warriors in the playoffs this season.

With Durant sidelined, the Warriors are likely to rely upon Andre Iguodala off the bench as well as other reserves to try and contain the Rockets.

© – AFP, 2019   

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