We know Golden State’s Kevin Durant won’t play in Game 1 of the NBA Finals.
The larger question as the two-time defending champions prepare for the Raptors and Thursday's Game 1 in Toronto: Has Durant played his last game with the Warriors?
While his pending free agency has been a hot topic all season, his slow return from what originally was believed to be a simple calf strain has ratcheted up the intrigue.
Since Durant's injury May 8 in Game 5 against Houston in the Western Conference semifinals, the Warriors have released information about the injury but have not given a key detail: what grade strain it is. A grade 1 strain requires about two weeks to recover. Durant is at the three-week mark, pushing his recovery time closer to four weeks, which would indicate a grade 2 strain.
In mid-May, Warriors coach Steve Kerr told reporters the injury was worse than they originally thought, and Durant told reporters Friday he initially thought it was worse than a strained calf.
The last official update, on May 23 in a news release, stated Durant had not been cleared for on-court activities, continues to make good progress, and “it’s hopeful that he could return at some point during the series.”
Kerr told reporters after practice Monday that Durant still wasn't practicing and "we'll see where it goes from here. This is where the fact that there's a lot of days in between games during the Finals helps us, so we'll see."
Durant will travel to Toronto, so it's conceivable he could be cleared to play in Sunday's Game 2.
It all has implications in the short and long term.
Let’s start with the here and now. Do the Warriors need Durant to win this series? No. Do they want him back? Yes. It's a tricky conundrum, and only a team as talented as the Warriors can ponder the questions.