TORONTO — Golden State Warriors star Kevin Durant will play Game 5 of the NBA Finals.
Warriors coach Steve Kerr said in a pre-game press conference on Monday that Durant had been cleared and would be in the starting lineup against the Toronto Raptors.
Durant went through Golden State's full morning shootaround earlier in the day and was originally a game-time decision.
The two-time NBA Finals MVP has been sidelined more than a month with a strained calf. He sustained the injury during Game 5 of the Western Conference semifinal against the Houston Rockets.
"Even without having played, he's still a huge threat. Just his mere presence makes a huge difference for us," said Kerr. "We'll start him and play him in short bursts and see how he responds physically, see if his wind is OK, and as the game goes, we'll try to figure it out from there."
Raptors coach Nick Nurse said his team's been readying itself for Durant's return for most of the Finals.
"The reports have been coming out since Game 1, I think, that he was going to play by Game 3. So we prepared each game, 3, 4 and now 5," Nurse said. "So it wasn't like it was a total departure from everything we have been doing.
"But yeah, we put in some clips of him today and walked through some stuff."
The Raptors hold a 3-1 series lead and can win their first NBA championship.
Durant, the 2017 and 2018 NBA Finals MVP, had a 51-point game in Toronto against the Raptors in a regular-season game in November. The Raptors won that game 131-128 in overtime.
"He brings everything, right?" Nurse said of Durant's impact. "He first of all, brings an explosive transition game. He'll race up the floor and pull up from across half court, like a couple of their other guys do. So it's another threat in transition you got to get ready for."
Nurse said there are no injury limitations on any of his players for Game 5.
OG Anunoby, who had an emergency appendectomy in April and has yet to play this post-season, has been cleared for days.
But Nurse said that didn't mean he'd see any game action on Monday night.
"I don't know about that, but he is ready to go," Nurse said. "He's been cleared health-wise for the last couple games, but again it just depends. It's situational. We're pretty happy with our rotations here for the last 8, 10, 12 games. But he's ready and he may get out there."