Durant to miss exhibition vs. Canada with calf strain

Durant to miss exhibition vs. Canada with calf strain

LAS VEGAS — As expected, star forward Kevin Durant will not play in the United States’ Olympic exhibition opener against Canada on Wednesday because of a left calf strain, coach Steve Kerr said Tuesday.

Durant, USA Basketball’s all-time leading scorer, did not participate in the team’s walkthrough Tuesday, nor in any of the full-contact portions of practices or team scrimmages in training camp, which opened Saturday on campus at the University of Nevada-Las Vegas. He said he suffered the injury working out about 10 days before the start of camp on July 6.

Team USA plays Canada at 10:30 p.m. ET on Wednesday at T-Mobile Arena.

“He’s already been doing things on the side, just not with the team yet,” Kerr said of Durant, mentioning “strengthening” and “treatment” among Durant’s activities. He’s also participated in light shooting work.

“He said he’s feeling pretty good, and we’ll just keep taking it day by day,” Kerr continued. “It won’t be long before he’s out on the court with us.”

As for when Durant might return, Team USA flies Thursday to Abu Dhabi for a week of workouts and exhibition games against Australia (noon ET on July 15) and Serbia (noon ET on July 17).

Durant said “I hope so” when asked if he would be on the court for either of those games in the Middle East, illustrating that the American side is being cautious with Durant’s injury.

The first game that counts is July 28 against Serbia in the Olympic opener in Lille, France. As for Wednesday’s game against Canada, Kerr said he expected the other 11 U.S. players to be available. However, he seemed to leave open the possibility that another player or two could rest with minor aches and pains.

Kawhi Leonard, who suffered knee inflammation in March and April that took him out of action for weeks for the LA Clippers, said he expects to play against Canada.

“Everything’s been good so far, steady,” Leonard said. “Hopefully it stays that way.”

The last time these two countries met in men’s basketball, the Canadians defeated the Americans in the FIBA World Cup bronze medal game in Manila in September.

While several players from that Canadian team returned for the Olympics, including Oklahoma City star Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, teammate Lu Dort, and the infamous Dillon Brooks, only two American players from the World Cup are back (Anthony Edwards and Tyrese Haliburton).

Kerr has said in camp that he would experiment with multiple lineups during the exhibition portion of Team USA’s summer, and Durant’s absence demands even more tinkering with the starting 5, but in the portions of the walkthrough open to media members Tuesday, LeBron James and Steph Curry were working with separate units.

James spent all his time with Edwards, Haliburton, Leonard, Anthony Davis and Bam Adebayo rotating in. Curry was with Joel Embiid, Devin Booker, Jayson Tatum and Jrue Holiday.

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(Photo: Mercedes Oliver / NBAE via Getty Images)

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