Sources: Kevin Durant expected to return midway through Finals

TORONTO — Barring a setback, Golden State Warriors superstar Kevin Durant is expected to return from a right calf strain at some point midway through the NBA Finals, league sources told Yahoo Sports.

There’s some optimism within members of the organization that a Game 3 arrival could be viable, but there’s a stronger possibility that Game 4 is the most logical option, sources said.

Head coach Steve Kerr announced Wednesday that Durant was cleared to take part in individual on-court basketball activities, but the 10-time All-Star — who has missed the past six postseason games — actually began his on-court basketball workouts earlier this week, sources said.

The 7-foot forward has about three or four days of on-court work under his belt, sources said. His teammates are encouraged by his progress.

Kerr explained that Durant must go through a full practice before he is given the green light to return to action.

The franchise, sources said, does not foresee a scenario in which Durant would be completely unavailable during the NBA Finals against the Toronto Raptors, who took a 1-0 series lead on Thursday after a 118-109 victory.

Teammates described Durant as being sick to his stomach for being a spectator for such an important contest on the road in a hostile Scotiabank Arena.

Durant’s postseason production of 34.2 points, 5.2 rebounds and 4.9 assists per game has been missed greatly by the Warriors.

Toronto boasts one of the deepest rosters in the association, and outside of Stephen Curry (34 points) and Klay Thompson (21 points), Golden State struggled to find a reliable No. 3 scoring option Thursday.

Meanwhile, the Raptors had three players register 20 or more points in Pascal Siakam (32), Kawhi Leonard (23) and Marc Gasol (20), with Fred VanVleet leading all reserves with 15 points.

As long as Durant is out of commission, the Warriors’ depth will be tested this series. To make matters worse, Warriors forward Andre Iguodala appeared to injure his leg late in Game 1.

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Photos and major moments from the 2019 NBA Finals
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Photos and major moments from the 2019 NBA Finals
Golden State Warriors guard Quinn Cook, left, passes the ball around Toronto Raptors forward Kawhi Leonard (2) during second-half basketball action in Game 5 of the NBA Finals in Toronto, Monday, June 10, 2019. (Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press via AP)
Golden State Warriors forward Kevin Durant, left, falls over Toronto Raptors center Serge Ibaka, bottom, as Warriors forward Andre Iguodala (9) looks on during first-half basketball game action in Game 5 of the NBA Finals in Toronto, Monday, June 10, 2019. (Frank Gunn/The Canadian Press via AP)
Golden State Warriors forward Andre Iguodala (9) stops Toronto Raptors guard Fred VanVleet (23) during the second half of Game 4 of basketball’s NBA Finals, Friday, June 7, 2019, in Oakland, Calif. (Frank Gunn/The Canadian Press via AP)
Toronto Raptors guard Kyle Lowry (7) makes a layup as Golden State Warriors forward Jordan Bell (2) defends during the first half of Game 3 of basketball’s NBA Finals, Wednesday, June 5, 2019, in Oakland, Calif. (Frank Gunn/The Canadian Press via AP)
Toronto Raptors center Marc Gasol (33) is defended by Golden State Warriors guard Klay Thompson, left, and center DeMarcus Cousins during the second half of Game 4 of basketball's NBA Finals in Oakland, Calif., Friday, June 7, 2019. (AP Photo/Tony Avelar)
Toronto Raptors center Serge Ibaka (9) dunks against the Golden State Warriors during the second half of Game 4 of basketball's NBA Finals in Oakland, Calif., Friday, June 7, 2019. (AP Photo/Tony Avelar, Pool)
TORONTO, ONTARIO - JUNE 10: Kevin Durant #35 of the Golden State Warriors reacts after sustaining an injury during the second quarter against the Toronto Raptors during Game Five of the 2019 NBA Finals at Scotiabank Arena on June 10, 2019 in Toronto, Canada. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
TORONTO, ONTARIO - JUNE 10: Kawhi Leonard #2 of the Toronto Raptors attempts a shot against Klay Thompson #11 of the Golden State Warriors during Game Five of the 2019 NBA Finals at Scotiabank Arena on June 10, 2019 in Toronto, Canada. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Pool - Nathan Denette/Getty Images)
OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA - JUNE 05: Kyle Lowry #7 of the Toronto Raptors argues with Warriors minority investor Mark Stevens (blue shirt) after Lowry chased down a loose ball in the second half against the Golden State Warriors during Game Three of the 2019 NBA Finals at ORACLE Arena on June 05, 2019 in Oakland, California. According to to the Warriors, Stevens will not be in attendance for the remainder of the NBA Finals as they look further into the incident. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images)
OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA - JUNE 05: Kawhi Leonard #2 of the Toronto Raptors attempts a shot against the Golden State Warriors during Game Three of the 2019 NBA Finals at ORACLE Arena on June 05, 2019 in Oakland, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
TORONTO, ONTARIO - MAY 30: DeMarcus Cousins #0 of the Golden State Warriors attempts to block a shot from Serge Ibaka #9 of the Toronto Raptors in the second half during Game One of the 2019 NBA Finals at Scotiabank Arena on May 30, 2019 in Toronto, Canada. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
TORONTO, ONTARIO - MAY 30: Stephen Curry #30 of the Golden State Warriors attempts a shot against Marc Gasol #33 of the Toronto Raptors in the second half during Game One of the 2019 NBA Finals at Scotiabank Arena on May 30, 2019 in Toronto, Canada. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Toronto Raptors forward Kawhi Leonard (2) drives to the net against Golden State Warriors guard Andre Iguodala (9) during the first half of Game 1 of basketball’s NBA Finals, Thursday, May 30, 2019, in Toronto. (Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press via AP)
Toronto Raptors' Kawhi Leonard (2) drives to the basket as Golden State Warriors' Andre Iguaodala (9) defends during Game 1 of basketball's NBA Finals in Toronto on Thursday, May 30, 2019. (Gregory Shamus/Pool Photo via AP)
Toronto Raptors guard Danny Green (14) reacts after making a 3-pointer against the Golden State Warriors during the first half of Game 1 of basketball’s NBA Finals, Thursday, May 30, 2019, in Toronto. (Frank Gunn/The Canadian Press via AP)
Toronto Raptors guard Kyle Lowry fouls Golden State Warriors centre Kevon Looney (5) during the second half of Game 1 of basketball’s NBA Finals, Thursday, May 30, 2019, in Toronto. (Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press via AP)
Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry (30) reacts during the second half of Game 1 of the team's basketball’s NBA Finals against the Toronto Raptors on Thursday, May 30, 2019, in Toronto. (Frank Gunn/The Canadian Press via AP)
TORONTO, ONTARIO - JUNE 02: Marc Gasol #33 of the Toronto Raptors reacts to a foul call against the Golden State Warriors in the first half during Game Two of the 2019 NBA Finals at Scotiabank Arena on June 02, 2019 in Toronto, Canada. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)
TORONTO, ONTARIO - JUNE 02: Stephen Curry #30 of the Golden State Warriors is defended by Fred VanVleet #23 of the Toronto Raptors in the first half during Game Two of the 2019 NBA Finals at Scotiabank Arena on June 02, 2019 in Toronto, Canada. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
TORONTO, ONTARIO - MAY 30: Rapper Drake and Stephen Curry #30 of the Golden State Warriors exchange words during a timeout in the first quarter during Game One of the 2019 NBA Finals between the Golden State Warriors and the Toronto Raptors at Scotiabank Arena on May 30, 2019 in Toronto, Canada. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)
Toronto Raptors' Kawhi Leonard (2) drives to the basket as Golden State Warriors' Andre Iguaodala (9) defends during Game 1 of basketball's NBA Finals in Toronto on Thursday, May 30, 2019. (Gregory Shamus/Pool Photo via AP)
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“KD’s an all-time great player on both ends of the floor, so I could sit here and talk for days about what he adds to our roster,” Curry said. “We obviously have proven that when he's out, we can have guys step up and that's going to be the case until he gets back.”

Golden State will not practice on Friday, setting it up potentially for Durant to join Saturday’s session before Game 2 on Sunday. But in the short term, the Warriors must find a way to get by without their star forward.

“If he's out there, he's pretty good, but if he's not out there, we play with the guys we have and we have got enough,” Kerr said. “We have won the last, whatever, six games without him, five, six games. So we have enough, but you play with the guys who are healthy and you go. So we'll see what happens.”

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