The Golden State Warriors, riding an 11-game NBA winning streak, could soon have another weapon at their disposal with star forward Kevin Durant nearing a return from injury.
ESPN reported Monday that Durant, who suffered a sprain and bone bruise in his left knee on February 28, could return on Saturday when the Warriors host the New Orleans Pelicans.
Warriors coach Steve Kerr confirmed on Sunday, prior the his team's blowout win over the Washington Wizards, that Durant would miss the team's first two games this week, against Minnesota on Tuesday and at Phoenix on Wednesday.
"Hopefully we can get him in for a couple of regular-season games," Kerr told reporters.
Kerr scoffed at the suggestion that the return of Durant, the 2014 NBA Most Valuable Player acquired in July to great fanfare after he played out his contract with Oklahoma City, could prove disruptive to a team on a roll.
"I may not play him," Kerr said with dripping sarcasm. "We're so much better without him ... maybe bring him off the bench and play him spot minutes depending on matchups."
Seriously, Kerr said, "I can tell you I'm going to start him. When he comes back and the training staff says he's ready, we're going to put him in the starting lineup."
Kerr said Durant would play "in shorter bursts" as the team monitors his fitness.
Warriors stars Stephen Curry and Draymond Green have also poured cold water on the theory that Durant could somehow disrupt the rhythm the team has developed in his absence.
"He'll fit right in," Green said. "But we don't need him to fit in. He wasn't brought here to fit in. He was brought here to stand out. We don't need him coming back trying to fit in with what's going on. We need him to come back and be KD. That's what he'll do."