Kerr says Durant diagnosis was a relief

Before Thursday's game, the hallways of the United Center were abuzz with the biggest news in the NBA.

The return of Paul Zipser from an ankle injury? Actually, it was Golden State playing its first game since losing top scorer Kevin Durant indefinitely with a knee injury. Durant was injured in Tuesday's loss at Washington when teammate Zaza Pachulia fell into his left knee.

Warriors coach Steve Kerr was questionable himself. He skipped the morning shootaround with an illness, but made it to his old home arena in time for the game.

"Given the way the whole thing unfolded, (Durant) is doing pretty well, because at first we thought he was done for the year," Kerr said before the contest. "That second prognosis was way better than the first. Just given that sequence, I think he's feeling a lot better about things now than he was at first."

Durant was diagnosed with an MCL sprain and tibial bone bruise. He'll be re-evaluated in four weeks. Golden State started rookie Patrick McCaw, a 6-7 forward from UNLV, in Durant's place and had newcomer Matt Barnes ready to go.

"It's difficult, but that's the game," Kerr said. "Everybody goes through it at some point. It's so rare that you go through an entire season without any injuries. So you've got to just deal with it.

"I had Matt in Phoenix when I was GM there. I love his competitive desire. He's crazy in a good way. You need guys like that - toughness, competitiveness. You don't really like playing against him, but you love having him on your team, he's one of those guys."

Kerr said he plans to use the 6-7 Barnes at power forward.

Kerr still feels UC love:

Steve Kerr, of course, was an important part of the Bulls 1996-98 championship teams, and he said returning to the United Center is still special.

"It's always great to come into this building. So many incredible memories," he said. "Just walking down this hallway, that's where some of the best times of my life happened. We clinched two title here. Going into the locker room, knowing we were champions, that's a memory that will last forever."

Kerr wasn't sure what to make of the current Bulls, who traded Taj Gibson and Doug McDermott to Oklahoma City since losing to the Warriors on Feb. 8.

"They've been up and down all year," Kerr said. "They've got talented guys, but obviously they made a big change. I thought Taj was such a huge part of this team, not only physically, but emotionally. So, we'll see how that plays out."

Zip to Bulls' lineup:

As mentioned above, Bulls rookie forward Paul Zipser was available Thursday, which marks his first appearance since the Feb. 8 game at Golden State due to an ankle injury.

Guard Michael Carter-Williams (knee) practiced Wednesday, but joined Anthony Morrow on the inactive list for Thursday's game.

"For the first time in a long time, we had 15 healthy bodies out there (for practice)," coach Fred Hoiberg said. "It does give us a third group we can run some stuff with. We're doing some extra stuff now with the new guys to get them caught up with everything. We're going to have to figure some things out (with the playing rotation)."

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