San Antonio Spurs News

What Does the Kevin Durant Injury Mean for the Spurs?

October 25, 2016; Oakland, CA, USA; Golden State Warriors forward Kevin Durant (35) shoots the basketball against the San Antonio Spurs during the second half at Oracle Arena. The Spurs defeated the Warriors 129-100. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
October 25, 2016; Oakland, CA, USA; Golden State Warriors forward Kevin Durant (35) shoots the basketball against the San Antonio Spurs during the second half at Oracle Arena. The Spurs defeated the Warriors 129-100. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
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After leaving the game Tuesday night with an apparent knee injury, the Golden State Warriors announced that Kevin Durant is out indefinitely with a grade 2 MCL sprain.

The Golden State Warriors’ worst nightmare is happening.

In the past offseason, the Warriors moved pieces around to acquire the services of Durant. The Warriors parted ways with Andrew Bogut, who has informed the Cavaliers that he intends to sign with them once he clears waivers.

They also parted ways with Harrison Barnes, Leandro Barbosa, Marreese Speights and Festus Ezeli to create the cap space to sign Durant.

Now, 60 games into the season, Durant suffered a serious injury.

BREAKING: The Warriors announced that Kevin Durant suffered an MCL sprain and bone bruise and will be re-evaluated in four weeks. pic.twitter.com/gQoE5Hipxk

— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) March 1, 2017

Durant’s timetable for return is still unclear.

Some speculate he could come back in the regular season, others believe it would be during the first or second round of the playoffs.

Warriors had feared they could have had to start playoffs without Durant, but there's a chance he can return by mid-April for first-round.

— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojVerticalNBA) March 1, 2017

There is a lot of speculation going on right about now. The timetable for his return is up in the air, and depends on his rehab and a little bit of luck.

What we do know is that Durant will be re-evaluated in four weeks, which means he will definitely be out another month. So, what does this mean for the Spurs?

Playoff Seeding

In the month of March, the Spurs will play 17 total games, 12 of which will come at home.

Two of those home games will come against the Durant-less Warriors, who they already beat on opening night in Golden State back in October.

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For argument’s sake, let’s say the Spurs and Warriors split the next two games. This means the Spurs will have a 2-1 regular season series lead over the Warriors, meaning if the Spurs and Warriors have an identical record at the end of the season, the Spurs would get the tie-breaker.

On the other hand, the Warriors will play 16 games in the month of March, nine of which will come on the road.

As it stands today, the Spurs are 4.0 games back of the Warriors in the standings, and with a win against the Indiana Pacers tonight, they will pull within 3.5 games.

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The Warriors end the month with a home game against the Memphis Grizzlies, two road games against the Houston Rockets and Spurs, then back home for another matchup against the Rockets.

While 4.0 games with about 22 games left is a steep hole to climb out of, the loss of Durant makes this possibility much more plausible. However, head coach Gregg Popovich won’t over-use his players to make this happen. At the end of the day, health is more important than seeding.

Reports are indicating that Durant will return for the playoffs, so his injury may not change anything for their playoff push.

Until then, the Spurs have positioned themselves as the best team in the Western Conference, specifically because of their depth. Bleacher Report recently ranked the best benches in the NBA, and they ranked the Spurs as the best second-unit in league.

If, and it’s a big if, Durant is unable to rejoin the Warriors this season, the Spurs become the favorite to reach the NBA Finals. The combination of their depth and defensive capabilities are tailor made for a deep playoff run.

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However, we’ll proceed with the notion that Durant will return this season, and join the Warriors for their playoff run.

Either way, Popovich and the Spurs will be ready to go.

The push for the number one seed begins tonight against the Pacers.

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