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Around the NBA Finals - Golden State Warriors vs. Toronto Raptors: Kevin Durant Takes Steps Towards Game 5, VanVleet Good to Go
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10 Jun 2019 02:10 PM EST

-by Daniel Mogollon, Staff Writer; Image: Golden State Warriors forward Kevin Durant. (Image Source: Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

For the first time in over a month, Golden State Warriors forward Kevin Durant practiced on Sunday. He is now listed as questionable for Game 5 of the NBA Finals on Monday night.

Head coach Steve Kerr spoke with the media today and was optimistic his star can play.

"It looked good and we'll see where it all goes," Kerr said, with conditioning a concern.

"You worry about the conditioning ... the skill obviously is undeniable and he's a guy who can get his shot off any time he wants," the coach continued.

On Sunday, Kerr also revealed that KD would do things in practice that he hadn’t done to that point.

So, Durant is making progress. That’s undeniable. But is it enough progress to be ready to suit up tonight? And if it is, is it enough progress for the two-time NBA Finals MVP to be effective?

According to ESPN’s report, Durant entered the practice after his teammates and was also “one of the first players back” to the team’s locker room.

It’s the first time that Durant has practiced with the team since he injured his calf on May 8 in Game 5 of the Western Conference Semifinals against the Houston Rockets.

This uncertainty of Durant’s status hanging over the NBA Finals has been an issue for the Warriors according to a piece by The Athletic. Sam Amick writes, that’s it’s caused angst:

“At the very least, Durant's absence that began back on May 8 is causing a mixture of confusion and angst among several of his teammates that simply can't be helpful to their overall cause.”

Angst or not, today’s news is good news.

"He's Kevin Durant. So, if we have him out there, he'll be a threat, we know that," Kerr added.

Down three games to one, the Warriors probably need Durant back on the court—even at less than 100 percent—if they are going to have a chance to come back and win this series.

VanVleet to Wear Mouth Guard

After suffering a cut on his head, as well as a chipped tooth, curtesy of Golden State Warriors guard Shaun Livingston in Game 4 of the NBA Finals on Friday night, Toronto Raptors guard Fred VanVleet is cleared to play in Game 5 on Monday night.

"I got back home, went to the hospital, got a CT scan to make sure that no bones were broken in my face," VanVleet said Sunday afternoon. "Then [I] went and made a visit to the dentist, and went home and went to sleep."

As a protective measure, VanVleet will wear a mouth guard.

"All kids out there, wear mouthpieces. It was a weird play and I took an unfortunate shot. Now I will be wearing a mouthpiece for as long as I can manage it.

"I hate mouthpieces, I'll probably throw it away at some point, but I'm going to try."

The guard also added that there were no symptoms of a concussion.

The reserve has been a major cog in Toronto’s run to their first NBA title. As the Raptors came back from a two-games-to-none deficit against Milwaukee in the Eastern Conference Finals, VanVleet shot an incredible 14-of-17 from three-point range in the final three games.

After scoring 32 points in the first two games of the NBA Finals, VanVleet made 5-of-11 three pointers in Toronto’s two wins in Golden State, as the Raptors took control of the series.  

Daniel Mogollon is a member of the Pro Football Writers of America and the Football Writers Association of America. He is also a voter for the Thorpe and the Rotary Lombardi Award, as well as the Latino Sports MVP Awards.

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