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Warriors' Kevin Durant to return Saturday barring setback
Barring a setback, Golden State Warriors forward Kevin Durant will return to game action Saturday against the New Orleans Pelicans, the team announced Thursday.
Durant, who has been participating in 2-on-2, 3-on-3 and 4-on-4 scrimmages during Warriors practices, has been cleared by team doctors to return to full-team practices.
If Durant does not suffer any setbacks following Friday's practice, he'll play against the Pelicans at Oracle Arena.
Durant has missed the Warriors' past 19 games after suffering a Grade 2 left MCL sprain and tibial bone bruise against the Washington Wizards on February 28.
ESPN's Marc Stein reported earlier this week that the team had targeted Saturday's game as a likely return date. The Warriors' announcement makes it official.
"Hopefully we can get him in for a couple of regular-season games," Warriors head coach Steve Kerr told reporters Sunday while also confirming that Durant will start and play under a minutes restriction when he comes back. "We'll see how it goes. We'll see what the training staff says. I'm not too worried about incorporating him because he's been with us all season and fit right in from the beginning. So whenever he gets back, we'll plug him back in there and watch his minutes."
The Warriors are currently riding a season-high 13-game winning streak. But teammates Draymond Green and Stephen Curry do not foresee any issues with Durant assimilating back into the rotation.
"Hell no, absolutely not,'' Green said earlier this week. "He'll fit in right in, but we don't need him to fit in. I think that's what people kind of get mixed up. He wasn't brought here to fit in, he was brought here to stand out. I think that's what's important. We don't need him coming back trying to fit in with what's going on. We need him to come back and be KD. And that's what he'll do. It'd be foolish of anyone, especially us, to think that we're a better team without him or we'll do whatever we want to do."
Said Curry: "He's been plugged in, understanding from game-to-game things we've been talking about, so mentally we're all on the same page. I wouldn't call it having to hit reset. KD's such a smart player understanding his skill level and his talent that the things we've been doing well he will take us to another level, hopefully. It shouldn't be much of a transition back.''
Great news for Warriors fans. They'll definitely let him play with a minute restriction as they will likely warm him up for the playoffs.