WASHINGTON — Kevin Durant has a hyperextended left knee and the Golden State Warriors are preparing for his absence even before knowing how long he could be sidelined.
Durant was hurt early in Golden State's 112-108 loss to Washington on Tuesday (Wednesday) and the Warriors said he would have an MRI exam. Results are expected on Wednesday but the Warriors aren't waiting to line up another forward.
ESPN.com reported that Golden State would sign veteran swingman Matt Barnes. Barnes posted a picture on Instagram of himself in uniform from his previous stint with the Warriors from 2006-08 and wrote: "Coming back to where it all started!"
Durant left only 93 seconds into the first quarter. On a Wizards possession under their basket less than a minute into the game, Washington center Marcin Gortat tossed Golden State's Zaza Pachulia aside. Pachulia stumbled and fell into Durant's left leg.
Durant immediately clutched at his left knee then hobbled around a bit. He stayed in for a few more possessions before limping off toward the locker room when Golden State called timeout. Washington led by as many as 19 points in the first quarter, which ended with the host ahead 40-26.
He took only one shot, which he missed, and left with zero points — ending a streak of 562 regular-season games (653, including the postseason) in which Durant scored at least 10 points.
[See KD out with hyperextended left knee]
Citing sources, Yahoo Sports later reported Durant could be out for months and not weeks as earlier anticipated.
The 2014 NBA MVP for the Oklahoma City Thunder and a four-time NBA scoring champion entered Tuesday averaging Warriors team highs of 25.8 points and 8.4 rebounds, along with 4.9 assists. Golden State fell to 50-10, still the league's best record.
This was Durant's first game in the nation's capital since signing with the Warriors; the Wizards — and their fans — had hoped to try to sign him as a free agent last offseason.
It was also Durant's first game against his former coach with the Oklahoma City Thunder, Scott Brooks, who joined Washington this season.
"I got nothing but positive things to say about him, not one bad thing," said Brooks. "He's a winner. I've said it for years and I've meant it and I still mean it. The guy is a winner more off the court, and he handles himself with class and dignity and respect for the game and his coaches and teammates. You want ... all your players to be a pro like him."
According to ESPN, the Warriors will go ahead with signing former New York Knicks point guard Jose Calderon who would then be waived to make room in the roster for Barnes.
Playing 54 games for the Sacramento Kings this season, the 15-year veteran averaged 7.6 points, 5.5 rebounds and 2.8 assists in 25 minutes per game.