While both the Warriors’ and Blazers’ backcourts are healthy heading into the Western Conference Finals, there are significant injuries on the wings and in the frontcourts that could shape how the series plays out.
Fans of NBA betting should keep a close eye on three key injuries heading into Game 1 on Tuesday night.
Kevin Durant’s Status Still In Doubt
When news broke that Kevin Durant had suffered a right calf strain late in Game 5 against the Houston Rockets, it was actually a sigh of relief. There was real concern that Durant had injured his Achilles – a far more serious injury – and might be lost for a significant amount of time.
But the calf injury isn’t anything to be taken lightly. Durant won’t be reevaluated until Thursday, meaning he will miss Game 1 and could miss even more time if the injury isn’t all the way healed.
The combination of the Warriors having more than enough to make up for his absence combined with Durant heading into free agency this summer mean both parties will be extra cautious working the reigning two-time Finals MVP back.
Calf injuries can linger and are easily tweaked, so it might be a while before we see Durant back on the floor.
Discouraging News On Demarcus Cousins’ Quad
It was fully expected that DeMarcus Cousins would miss the remainder of the playoffs when he went tumbling to the floor in Game 2 of the Warriors’ first-round matchup against the LA Clippers. The diagnosis was a partially torn left quadriceps muscle that wouldn’t require surgery but would sideline the six-time All-Star indefinitely.
DeMarcus Cousins goes down with a torn quad. pic.twitter.com/ZLruKqT24t— Scott McEwen (@scottmcewen4) May 14, 2019
Cousins began rehab immediately after the injury and has been taking steps toward a quicker return than initially expected. After the Warriors closed out the Rockets last week, reports surfaced that Cousins was “on course” to return at some point in the Western Conference Finals.
Head coach Steve Kerr threw some water on that report Monday, saying that Cousins is “not that close” to a return because “he hasn’t had any live stuff on the court yet.”
He’s officially been ruled out of Game 1 with Durant, and at this point it would be a surprise to see Cousins in the lineup at any point in the series. Cousins is also an unrestricted free agent this summer. He’ll certainly want to err on the side of caution after tearing an Achilles last December, which cost him a significant payday this past offseason.
Blazers Optimistic About Rodney Hood
Everyone feared for the worst when Blazers shooting guard Rodney Hood went tumbling to the floor late in the Blazers’ Game 7 victory over the Denver Nuggets. Hood was on the floor holding his left knee for quite some time in what looked to be a potentially season-ending injury.
Rodney Hood goes down pic.twitter.com/EXZ1fUmAj2— NBC Sports Northwest (@NBCSNorthwest) May 12, 2019
But Hood and the Blazers received good news the following day, with an MRI showing no significant damage in the knee. He was listed as day-to-day and is officially questionable for Game 1, though he’s fully expected to return at some point in the series.
That’s huge for the Blazers, who in the wake of Jusuf Nurkic’s injury have been looking for a third scorer behind Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum. Hood was that player in Round 2, averaging 16.2 points on 60% shooting through the first six games of the series before the injury.
He’ll provide a necessary scoring punch for a Blazers team looking to keep up with the Warriors’ historically good offense.