NBA: Kevin Durant could return before end of regular season, says Golden State Warriors

Kevin Durant of the Golden State Warriors in a 2017 NBA All-Star Game on Feb 19, 2017.
Kevin Durant of the Golden State Warriors in a 2017 NBA All-Star Game on Feb 19, 2017.PHOTO: AFP

San Francisco (AFP) - Injured Golden State Warriors star forward Kevin Durant could return to the starting line-up before the regular season concludes in two weeks, the National Basketball Association (NBA) club said Wednesday.

The Warriors, who took the 2015 NBA crown and came within a game of defending their title in the Finals last year after a record 73-win campaign, signed Durant last July to great fanfare after he played out his contract with Oklahoma City.

But Durant was ruled out indefinitely on March 1 due to a left knee sprain and bone bruise suffered the night before against the Washington Wizards.

"Kevin has made very good progress since suffering the injury four weeks ago," the team statement said.

"He has not experienced any setbacks to date and has progressed as well as could be expected.

"A return to game action prior to the end of the regular season remains a possibility."

Durant, the 2014 NBA Most Valuable Player, is averaging 25.3 points, 8.2 rebounds, 4.8 assists, 1.6 blocked shots and 1.1 steals a game in 59 appearances this season.

Golden State went 2-5 after he was sidelined but the Warriors now boast an eight-game win streak and own the NBA's best record at 60-14.

Durant, who was evaluated by team medical staff and athletic trainers, will be re-evaluated in seven to 10 days.

"At this point, he is being incorporated into non-contact basketball drills - shooting, running and jumping - and the plan is to intensify his level of movement over the next several days, which will include more explosive cutting and lateral maneuvers," the statement said.

"His eventual return to contact drills and practice will be predicated upon his progress to the increased intensity of his workouts."

With at least a week before re-evaluation, Durant would likely be able to play in only the final three regular-season games for the Warriors, home contests against New Orleans Pelicans on April 8, Utah Jazz on April 10 and the Los Angeles Lakers on April 12.

The play-offs are set to begin the next weekend.