SAN FRANCISCO — The intrigue surrounding which players would be healthy enough to play in Game One of the first round series between the Trail Blazers and Warriors was mostly centered around Portland center Jusuf Nurkić. For Game Two, the injury intrigue has switched locker rooms.
While there is no mystery this time regarding Nurkić, who said he would not play in Game Two after sitting out Game One and the final eight games of the regular season with a non-displaced fracture in his right leg, the Warriors have listed forward Kevin Durant and guard Shaun Livingston, both of whom played in Game One, as questionable along with Matt Barnes, who sat out Game One.
While losing Livingston, who has a right index finger sprain and a hand contusion, certainly wouldn’t help Golden State’s chances in Game Two, Durant not being able to go Wednesday night at Oracle Arena would be a huge blow for the top-seeded Warriors. Granted, between Stephen Curry, Draymond Green, Klay Thompson and Andre Iguodala, the Warriors have more than enough talent to win Game Two in the event that Durant is unable to play, but there’s no doubt Golden State is a better team with Durant in uniform as opposed to street clothes.
“I think you try to hold Klay (Thompson) and Steph (Curry) down, make them take tough shots and make the game harder for them, and you know you’re in a close game and you’re going back and forth,” said Damian Lillard after Game One. “Then you add Kevin Durant, guys who has been an MVP in this league, and that’s a hell of an option to have, especially in a game like (Game One).
Listed as having a left calf strain, Durant, who finished Game One with 32 points and 10 rebounds in 32 minutes, sat out Golden State’s practice on Tuesday.
“You’ve got to be careful with this stuff,” said Kerr of the injury. “We’ll see how he feels tomorrow.”
While Kerr said there was reason for “concern,” he also noted that, at the very worse, he expected Durant back in the lineup at some point during the series, just perhaps not in Game Two.
As for Nurkić, he said prior to Portland’s practice on Tuesday that while he would like to play, he’s simply not ready to play, at least in Game Two.
“I would like to play but I think I’m not ready, so I’m not going to play in second (game),” said Nurkić. “I’m going to go day-by-day. It’s hard to talk about like five days in the front, but let’s see what happens.”
The only other players on Portland’s injury list for Game Two are CJ McCollum (right ankle strain) and Allen Crabbe (left foot), though both are listed as probable and are expected to play Wednesday night.
Game Two is scheduled for 7:30 pm on KGW, TNT and Rip City Radio 620 AM.