The injury news goes from bad to worse for the Golden State Warriors in the 2019 NBA Finals. While it’s true no team is 100 percent this time year, this, we must admit, is getting a tad ridiculous for the defending champs.
During their (unfortunate) Game 2 victory on Sunday night, Warriors centre Kevon Looney had to leave the game with what was called a “chest contusion” after taking a rough football-highlight hit from the Raptors’ Kawhi Leonard.
Kevon Looney gets injured on a Kawhi Leonard drive pic.twitter.com/t6fiQvdgNK— The Render (@TheRenderSports) June 3, 2019
It was a clean play — which more than anything points to how insanely strong Kawhi is while in motion — but now it’s being reported by ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski that this is no mere bone bruise:
Further detail on Looney injury, per sources: non-displaced first costal cartilage fracture. There could be more evaluation, but there isn't great optimism on a return this season. DeMarcus Cousins' emergence in Game 2 looms even bigger for the Warriors. https://t.co/acW7PnWQzm— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) June 4, 2019
(It appears as though Woj got the diagnosis wrong with his original tweet, but the outcome it the same: no Looney for the rest of the Finals.)
A literal tough break for the Warriors as they had come to rely on the 23-year-old Looney, now in his fourth year with Golden State, as their main centre. In Game 1 of the Finals, while Jordan Bell did get the start, it was Looney who soaked up most of the team’s minutes at the pivot (28 in total), only ceding some ground to DeMarcus Cousins in the process.
And as we saw in Game 2, it looks like the Warriors will now have to lean exclusively on Cousins, with support from Andrew Bogut, if they want to maintain any sort of size in their lineups against the Raptors. Let me just add here: I would have felt much more confident about this situation being in favour of Toronto had both Boogie and Bogut not done a solid job for the Warriors on both ends of the floor on Sunday night.
Meanwhile, the hits keep coming. Minutes after Woj’s big scoop, the Athletic’s Shams Charania pitched in the update on Klay Thompson:
MRI on Golden State Warriors All-Star Klay Thompson confirmed a hamstring strain and he will likely be questionable for Game 3, league sources tell @TheAthleticNBA @Stadium. Thompson will test body over next two days with hope to play Wednesday night.— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) June 4, 2019
The absence of Thompson in Game 3 would be huge for the Warriors. If not for his presence in the first half of Game 2, Golden State likely would have fallen well behind Toronto in that contest — and they wouldn’t have been able to use both his offensive gravity and his defensive skill to tilt the game in their favour over the long haul. In retrospect, it remains astounding the Warriors won Game 2, but I’d rather not dwell on that.
Just to refresh your memory, Thompson went down after inexplicably doing the splits following a three-point attempt in the fourth quarter.
Klay Thompson limped off the floor and into the locker room with an apparent leg injury after landing awkwardly on a shot attempt. pic.twitter.com/SNT3dEe5U9— ESPN (@espn) June 3, 2019
Yes, Danny Green was right there to bump into Thompson, but I’m still not sure what the impulse was to go into the splits on the way down. (I’ll leave that for you to decipher.) Klay legged it out for a few plays after this, but eventually limped off the floor and did not return.
And now, the biggest story: the Kevin Durant non-story.
We still have no word on the status of Kevin Durant for Game 3. If he can’t go either, the Warriors’ offense truly will become something of a one-man show. Can Steph Curry, a few savvy ball-movers, and some set-shooters, topple the Raptors in Game 3? Honestly, they might could. If Game 2 taught the Raptors anything, it’s that this Warriors team has exactly zero quit in them. Toronto had better prepare their best effort.