The Golden State Warriors will be without Kevin Durant for at least Game 1 of the Western Conference finals against the Portland Trail Blazers, according to a report from ESPN's Ramona Shelburne. With their star forward set to be reevaluated on Thursday, the day of Game 2, it's "unlikely" he plays in that game as well.
During Game 5 of the Warriors' second-round series with the Houston Rockets, Durant suffered a calf strain that knocked him out of the game. The way he planted and immediately grabbed the back of his leg had many worried that he suffered an Achilles injury, but the Warriors got good news that it was a calf injury instead.
Still, while Durant didn't suffer a career-altering injury, this calf strain is going to leave the Warriors shorthanded for a bit, and it will be fascinating to see how they respond. As we saw in Game 6 against the Rockets, they're still a formidable squad with Steph Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green leading the way, but they don't have anywhere near the depth they've had in past seasons.
With Durant out, the Warriors will need Curry and Thompson to step up like they did on the road to clinch the series against the Rockets. The Splash Brothers have been inconsistent throughout the postseason, but most of the time Durant has been there to bail the Warriors out with his ability to get a bucket over just about any defender.
In addition, Durant's injury will put greater pressure on Andre Iguodala to continue his strong play this postseason, as well as the Warriors' bench. The likes of Kevon Looney and Shaun Livingston combined for 25 points in Game 6 against the Rockets, but can they deliver that production on a consistent basis? History would tell us that's unlikely.
There's also the chance DeMarcus Cousins returns from his quad injury in the playoffs, and potentially this series, which would only help the Warriors.
The Warriors should still be considered the favorites in this series even with Durant out for the first few games, but it will be fascinating to see if the Blazers can steal one in Oakland.