Medical experts are optimistic about Kevin Durant‘s chances to bounce back from his torn Achilles tendon, writes Brian Lewis of The New York Post. The Nets‘ star forward hasn’t played since suffering the injury in Game 5 of the 2019 NBA Finals, but he showed some signs of progress in workouts before before the hiatus.
Durant will be in the second season of a four-year, $164MM contract with Brooklyn, and the franchise is hoping that he and Kyrie Irving will turn it into an instant contender. Durant was only 30 when the injury occurred and turned 32 last month, so that gives him an advantage over players such as Patrick Ewing, Isiah Thomas and Kobe Bryant, who had similar injuries later in their careers.
“That’s better for him, so I don’t see anything holding him back,” said Dr. Laith Jazrawi, chief of the division of sports medicine at NYU Langone Sports Health. “The only thing is he hasn’t played for a year-and-a-half, so it’ll take time to get back into the rhythm. Some people are going to say ‘Oh, it’s because he had his Achilles (injury).’ That’s not true. It’s that when anyone doesn’t play for a year-and-a-half, it’s just going to take time to get back into the flow. But he should do fine.”
Durant said his love for the game has increased as he tries to work his way back. He recently appeared on the Stewie’s World podcast with Breanna Stewart of the WNBA, who was able to overcome a torn Achilles and return to stardom.
“I just appreciate being in the gym. I appreciate the workouts and the one-on-one sessions and just being in there with the other guys, just the whole routine,” Durant said. “I just have a newfound evolved level of joy for it.”
There’s more from New York City this morning:
- To help gauge the value of Joe Harris‘ next contract, Alex Schiffer of the Athletic looks at recent deals signed by sharpshooters throughout the league. He notes that Harris will be in a similar situation as J.J. Redick, Danny Green, Otto Porter, Davis Bertans and Joe Ingles.
- Trading for Pacers guard Victor Oladipo is the bold move the Knicks need to jump-start their rebuilding process, contends Mike Vaccaro of The New York Post. At 28, Oladipo is much younger than Chris Paul, another rumored target, giving New York a player to build its future around.
- ESPN writers examine the best and worst cases for the Knicks and the other seven teams that haven’t played a game since March. The piece states that New York needs to find a point guard and hope its young players continue to develop.