Even though he was cleared to play in Game 5, Warriors star Kevin Durant wasn’t “anywhere close” to 100%, sources tell Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports. As family members, teammates, and confidants checked in on his status during his recovery from a calf injury, Durant said throughout the process that he was still experiencing discomfort pushing off his right foot, Haynes adds.
There was some resentment throughout Durant’s recovery about the way the Warriors handled updates on his progress, according to Haynes, who notes that KD’s possible return became a daily talking point once the club didn’t simply rule him out indefinitely.
Durant is now facing a possible worst-case scenario, as he suffered an Achilles injury during his brief return on Monday night. While an MRI has yet to confirm the diagnosis, the Warriors believe he suffered a torn right Achilles tendon. An injury of that magnitude would sideline him not only for the rest of the NBA Finals, but for most or all of the 2019/20 season.
Shams Charania of The Athletic reports (via Twitter) that Durant is heading to New York, rather than Oakland, for medical evaluations on his injured Achilles. The Warriors don’t expect to have an update on the two-time Finals MVP until at least late tonight or tomorrow morning, tweets Mark Medina of The Bay Area News Group.
Here’s more on Durant’s injury:
- Warriors guard Shaun Livingston pushed back against the idea that the team’s front office or training staff should be blamed for Durant’s injury, per Howard Beck of Bleacher Report. “I know for a fact that our team, [GM] Bob [Myers] and [head coach] Steve [Kerr], and the training staff, is not going to compromise their integrity [just to win a game],” Livingston told Beck. “They’re always going to put a player first because they look at guys as humans.”
- Durant’s injury will have a significant ripple effect on the rest of the NBA Finals and the coming offseason, according to John Gonzalez of The Ringer. Gonzalez writes that teams like the Knicks and Clippers, who would have killed to sign a healthy KD, may have to re-evaluate their approach to free agency — assuming Durant even opts out of his Warriors contract, which is no longer a lock at all.
- Marc Berman of The New York Post and Ian Begley of SNY.tv examine the impact of Durant’s injury on the Knicks, with both reporters suggesting that it may increase the likelihood of the franchise continuing a gradual rebuild rather than swinging for the fences this offseason.
- While the Celtics were never considered a contender for Durant, Chris Forsberg of NBC Sports Boston wonders if the injury could affect the team anyway. As Forsberg observes, there has long been speculation that Durant and Kyrie Irving would consider teaming up this summer. If Durant is expected to miss all or most of the 2019/20 season – or if he opts in with the Warriors – that scenario may no longer be on the table, which could in turn increase the odds of Irving sticking with Boston for at least one more year.