Kevin Durant underwent an MRI on his left knee after leaving Tuesday’s game in the first half. Warriors’ center Zaza Pachulia fell back towards Durant on a loose ball play, causing his leg to hyperextend. He tried to make it through a few more plays but had to call a timeout to leave the game.
When a player’s knee hyperextends, there a few immediate concerns. The biggest ones are ligament damage (ACL, MCL), a meniscus tear or a bone bruise. The MRI to Durant’s left knee showed two of these- an MCL sprain and a tibial bone bruise. Durant will be re-evaluated in four weeks and still hopes to be ready for the playoffs.
The Inside Injuries algorithm calculates a grade 2 injury for Durant, which comes with an Optimal Recovery Time of 5-8 weeks. The good news is that he could be back for the Warriors’ Championship run. The team is much more optimistic now that he will be able to return this season, but it’s still a significant injury.
Without Durant, the Warriors will have a much tougher time holding off the Spurs for the number one seed in the West. Golden State has a four-game lead but may decide to rest their stars like Steph Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green to prepare them for the playoffs. The loss of Durant has left a big hole in the lineup, but if anyone can get through it it’s the Warriors. Durant leads the team with 25.3 points per game and 8.2 rebounds. Andre Iguodala will need to step up and fill a lot of his minutes, but Matt Barnes (once signed) will also be an important fill-in. Iguodala is the guy to pick up in standard leagues, and it’s probably time to cut ties with Durant unless you have an IR spot. Green, Curry and Thompson will also see a slight increase in their Fantasy value as they look to take over his offensive production.
If Durant does return at exactly the four-week mark, the Warriors will have six regular season games left. Six weeks sounds like a more realistic target if he wants to be effective in the playoffs and avoid re-injury, so he could be able to make a few appearances during the regular season.
For more injury analysis on Kevin Durant and every player in the NBA, download the Inside Injuries app today!