OAKLAND, Calif. — Golden State Warriors forward Kevin Durant is doubtful for Saturday’s game against the New Orleans Pelicans with what the team is calling a sprained ankle — an issue that Warriors coach Steve Kerr said was bad enough that he regrets playing Durant against the Oklahoma City Thunder on Wednesday.
“I thought he was fine. We thought he was fine, but then he got sore afterwards [Wednesday],” Kerr said after Durant sat out the Warriors’ 143-94 win over the Chicago Bulls on Friday.
“I’m sure the league is happy with us because we played him on their ‘marquee’ game with [Russell Westbrook] and all that stuff, but he came out sore the next day, so we shouldn’t have played him.”
Kerr added, “Now we’ve got to be careful. I don’t think it’s anything serious, but we’ve got to make sure he’s right, so I would say he’s doubtful.”
Durant scored 21 points Wednesday in a heated matchup against his former team and running mate, Westbrook — a game the Thunder won by double digits.
Kerr’s reference to a “marquee” game was a nod to the NBA’s tweaked regular-season schedule in which the league moved to protect 22 high-profile, nationally televised games this season in the wake of players being rested at skyrocketing rates in recent years.
Now, no team competing in those 22 games will be involved in a back-to-back or five-in-seven scenario or will have traveled more than 3,500 miles in the seven days before the game.
Further, a memo sent out from the league office to NBA general managers, head coaches, team physicians and athletic trainers states that teams are prohibited from resting “healthy” players for any high-profile, nationally televised game. It further notes that any violation of this rule would result in a fine of at least $100,000.