Durant, who had played in all 61 games this season before Thursday, just needs a little recharge, Warriors coach Steve Kerr said.
“He’s just wiped out,” Kerr said before Thursday’s game. “He’s tired. He’s been going at it hard and playing every game. So with the back-to-back, we’ve been trying to figure out a good night to give guys some rest, and this back-to-back made it obvious — [Wednesday] night for DeMarcus [Cousins], tonight for Kevin. And then Andre [Iguodala]’s sick so we’ll obviously be short-handed.”
Alfonzo McKinnie started in Durant’s place. Iguodala also sat out Thursday’s game because of an illness, but it doesn’t appear to be serious, as he went through a pregame workout Thursday. After sitting out the front end of the Florida back-to-back in Miami, Cousins will play. Kerr noted that every player on the active roster should get some minutes against the Magic.
Durant’s durability has been a major constant for the Warriors throughout his three-year tenure with the team. Kerr said he and the Warriors’ director of sports medicine and performance, Dr. Rick Celebrini, have been in communication with Durant all along about which game would be best to give him a rest.
“It’s a big part of who Kevin is,” Kerr said of Durant’s constant presence in the lineup. “And, I think, part of his profile just how available he is on a routine basis. I think since he’s been here, he had the one knee injury a couple years ago, but it seems like he’s there for us every single night. So he’s earned the day off, and hopefully a couple days’ rest will do him some good.”
The Warriors finish off their four-game trip Saturday night against the Philadelphia 76ers.