Durant returns, but Curry likely out for Warriors against Pelicans

OAKLAND, Calif. -- The return of Golden State Warriors star Kevin Durant appears to be on as advertised Saturday night.

His reunion with co-star Stephen Curry will have to wait for another day, however.

Durant was given the green light to play in an NBA game for the first time since spraining his left knee on Feb. 28 when he completed the final stage of his rehab Friday -- a full-speed scrimmage with his teammates.

"I felt normal," Durant told reporters after the workout. "I've been waiting for that feeling for a couple of weeks now."

Not all of his teammates participated in the scrimmage. Curry sat out with a bruised left knee.

While the injury is not considered to be serious, Curry eill not face the New Orleans Pelicans on Saturday night.

Curry would have two more opportunities to join forces with Durant before the regular season ends. The Warriors will host the Utah Jazz on Monday and Los Angeles Lakers on Wednesday before beginning the playoffs also at home next weekend.

The Warriors (65-14) will enter the postseason as the top-seeded team in the West. They will face Portland (39-40) or Denver (38-41) in the first round in a best-of-seven series.

The Trail Blazers hold the tiebreaker by virtue of their 3-1 advantage over the Nuggets in the season series.

Even without Curry, Warriors coach Steve Kerr assured Friday that priority one in the final five days of the regular season was to get Durant back into playing shape.

The coach noted the team's leading scorer, who has scored in double figures in every game he has played this season except the one in which he got hurt in the second minute at Washington, would not have a minutes restriction.

"If he gets fatigued," Kerr explained to reporters Friday, "then I'm going to take him out."

Durant is expected to start the game.

Speaking of fatigue, that's exactly what the Warriors might expect of the Pelicans on Saturday night. New Orleans, which has been eliminated from playoff contention, played at Denver on Friday night, then traveled into Oakland early in the morning.

The Pelicans began a four-game, season-ending trip without DeMarcus Cousins (sore Achilles) with a 122-106 loss to the Denver Nuggets. Cousins remains questionable for the rest of the season.

In a game that will not impact the final NBA standings, Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry indicated earlier in the week that he would strongly consider sitting his other star big man, Anthony Davis, on the second night of a back-to-back.

"Obviously, we're not going to play him 40 minutes in the first game and then a bunch of minutes in the second game. I don't see how that would benefit him at all," Gentry told reporters on the eve of the Denver game. "So if he gets in the 30's (in minutes in the first game), he probably won't even play in the second game."

With the Pelicans trailing by double digits through most of the second half at Denver, Davis was limited to 24 minutes. He still found time to take 27 shots and lead the Pelicans in scoring with 25 points.
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