OAKLAND -- Kevin Durant came out for pregame warmups Saturday and not only avoided disaster but looked about as normal as he did prior to sustaining the knee injury that sidelined him for more than a month.
Still, the Warriors were taking no chances. Dr. Bill Maloney, the team physician, stood on the court arms folded, observing as Durant crouched and stretched while going through various dribbling and shooting drills an hour before tipoff against the Pelicans.
“There aren’t any minutes restrictions, per se,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. “It’ll be based on his level conditioning and fatigue. I can’t imagine in the first game back that I’m going to run him huge minutes.”
Durant missed 19 full games and all except the opening minute of the Feb. 28 game during which he left after spraining his left medial collateral ligament (MCL) and bruising his tibia.
Also clear: Durant won’t be the sole voice in determining how much he plays.
“He didn’t even like it this past summer when he signed with us, when I told him that our starters basically all play 33 or 34 minutes,” Kerr said. “He didn’t like that at all. He said, ‘I’m a 38-to-40 guy.’ He wants to be out there all the time.
“So I have to rein him in and make sure we’re doing the smart thing.”
AT THE POINT
With Stephen Curry sitting out with a minor injury, Kerr opted for the safe pick as his replacement, calling upon veteran point guard Shaun Livingston.
It’s a one-game decision, according to the coach.
“Steph’s good,” Kerr said. “He didn’t shoot around again this morning. He got treatment. But we anticipate him playing on Monday.”
Curry is getting extra time to allow a contusion on his left knee, sustained Wednesday night in Phoenix, to fully heal.