Durant makes return in Game 5 for Warriors

ByNick Friedell ESPN logo
Tuesday, June 11, 2019

TORONTO -- Golden State Warriors forward Kevin Durantstarted in Monday's Game 5 of the NBA Finals against the Toronto Raptorsand will play in "short bursts" until they figure out how much he can contribute, coach Steve Kerr said.

"He responded well, and yeah, he's going to play," Kerr said in a pregame news conference.

Durant took part in morning shootaround and then went to receive treatment for the injured calf that has kept him out since May 8. He practiced Sunday with his teammates for the first time since getting hurt.

"Kevin's insertion changes quite a bit for us," Kerr said, with Golden State facing a must-win game, down 3-1 to the Raptors. "We have an idea of how we're going to play and what our rotation will look like, and of course I'm not going to tell you that."

After practice Sunday, the 30-year-old Durant had two big ice packs wrapped around the lower part of his right calf and his right Achilles tendon. He walked toward the team bus with assistant coach Mike Brown and members of the Warriors' training staff.

The Warriors were hopeful that Durant would be able to return to action in Game 4, but he had not been cleared for practice up to that point.

Durant's injury is one of several of the Warriors continue to deal with. Klay Thompson is playing through a left hamstring injury, big man Kevon Looney is dealing with a nondisplaced first costal cartilage fracture on his right side, and Andre Iguodala has had a lingering calf injury for several weeks.

Sportsbooks accounted for the news that Durant was practicing on Sunday, as the point spread on Game 5 dropped. The Raptors had been listed as high as a 3.5-point favorite but was down to as low as Toronto minus-1.5 on Sunday at some sportsbooks. Following the news that Durant planned to play,several Vegas books, along with DraftKings and FanDuel in New Jersey, made the Warriors a 1-point favorite, though Caesars sportsbook still has the Raptors favored by 1.

The Raptors were posted as minus-700 favorites to win the series after their victory in Game 4. The series price was down to Toronto minus-575 as of Sunday at Caesars.

ESPN's David Purdum contributed to this report.

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