Warriors’ Kevin Durant Out for 2019 NBA Finals Game 4 vs. Raptors with Injury

TORONTO, ON -  JUNE 1: Kevin Durant of the Golden State Warriors during practice and media availability as part of the 2019 NBA Finals on June 01, 2019 at Scotiabank Arena in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2019 NBAE (Photo by Noah Graham/NBAE via Getty Images)

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Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr announced Thursday superstar forward Kevin Durant will sit out Game 4 of the 2019 NBA Finals against the Toronto Raptors on Friday night at Oracle Arena in Oakland.

Durant has been sidelined since suffering a strained right calf in Game 5 of the Western Conference Semifinals against the Houston Rockets on May 8.

Before Game 3 of the Finals, a 123-109 loss to put the Dubs in a 2-1 series hole, Warriors owner Joe Lacob told ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith he expected the two-time defending NBA Finals MVP to return at some point during the championship clash with Toronto:

Although Kerr has provided updates on the 10-time All-Star selection before each game, the University of Texas product has remained mostly quiet about his comeback efforts.

“Nah, it was different. Different,” Durant told reporters in late May about his current calf injury compared to ones suffered earlier in his career. “… It was worse.”

The 30-year-old Washington, D.C. native averaged 34.2 points, 5.2 rebounds and 4.9 assists while shooting 51.3 percent from the field, including 41.6 percent from three-point range, across 11 appearances in this year’s postseason before the injury.

Golden State was able to close out the Rockets and roll past the Portland Trail Blazers in the Western Conference Finals without him. The Raptors are putting up a much greater fight, however, cruising to a Game 3 win in a contest the Warriors also played without shooting guard Klay Thompson (hamstring).

Durant sitting out Game 4 is a seriously concerning sign for the Dubs. Not only does that mean they’ll remain at less than full strength in a key game, but his inability to return with the team facing a potential 3-1 deficit raises further questions about whether he’ll be available at all in the series.

The burden will once again fall on Stephen Curry, who scored 47 points in the Game 3 loss, to carry the Golden State offense on his back for at least one more night. And the Warriors need some other players to step up if they’re going to level the series before heading back to Toronto.   

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