As the Warriors initially feared, Kevin Durant suffered a ruptured right Achilles tendon during Monday night’s win over the Raptors. Durant announced the news himself today in an Instagram post, confirming that he has already undergone surgery to repair the injury.
“My road back starts now!” Durant wrote on Instagram. “I got my family and my loved ones by my side and we truly appreciate all the messages and support people have sent our way.
“Like I said Monday, I’m hurting deeply, but I’m OK,” Durant continued. “Basketball is my biggest love and I wanted to be out there that night because that’s what I do. I wanted to help my teammates on our quest for the three-peat. It’s just the way things go in this game and I’m proud that I gave it all I physically could, and I’m proud my brothers got the W.”
Speaking today to reporters, including Ben Golliver of The Washington Post (Twitter link), Warriors head coach Steve Kerr said that Durant, agent Rich Kleiman, team doctors, and an outside specialist were all involved in the decision to clear KD to return for Game 5. According to Kerr, the club didn’t believe there was a risk of an Achilles tear, and wouldn’t have cleared Durant if that was thought to be a possibility.
“Would we go back and do it over again? Damn right,” Kerr said. “Our feeling was the worst thing he could do was re-injure the calf. The Achilles came as a complete shock.”
A ruptured Achilles tendon is one of the most serious injuries an NBA player can sustain, and there’s a good chance it will sideline Durant for most or all of the 2019/20 season. However, as we relayed on Tuesday night, that injury isn’t expected to deter KD’s suitors if and when he reaches free agency. The Warriors, Knicks, Nets, Lakers, and Clippers are still likely to pursue Durant, who may have his choice of maximum-salary offers.
Exercising his $31.5MM player option with the Warriors and putting off free agency until 2020 is another option for Durant, but with plenty of teams seemingly interested in topping that salary, that scenario is reportedly considered a “last resort.”
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.