Durant returns in Game 5 but injured again
TORONTO — Golden State forward Kevin Durant has an injured right Achilles, a massive blow for the perennial All-Star and two-time NBA Finals MVP who is three weeks away from free agency and now may be facing a long rehabilitation process.
Warriors general manager Bob Myers was teary when he gave the news after Game 5 of the NBA Finals on Monday night. An MRI will be performed Tuesday to determine the severity, but Durant’s season is clearly over and his recovery will likely take several months if the Achilles is indeed torn.
“He’s one of the most misunderstood people,” Meyers said. “He’s a good teammate, he’s a good person, it’s not fair. I’m lucky to know him. I don’t have all the information on what really the extent of what it all means until we get a MRI, but the people that worked with him and cleared him are good people, they’re good people.”
Myers said Durant’s first injury of this postseason was a calf injury, as the Warriors have insisted throughout. Myers also said that he is willing to accept the blame for the decision to play Durant in Game 5.
Golden State won 106-105, cutting Toronto’s lead in the NBA Finals to 3-2.
“I don’t believe there’s anybody to blame, but I understand in this world and if you have to, you can blame me,” Myers said. “I run our basketball operations department. And to tell you something about Kevin Durant, Kevin Durant loves to play basketball, and the people that questioned whether he wanted to get back to this team were wrong.”
Durant got hurt on a dribble on the right wing, coming up lame on a crossover move and falling to the floor. He grabbed the back of his leg, appeared to grab below the calf and more toward the Achilles area, and needed help to limp to the bench area and more help to get back to the Warriors’ locker room. Warriors forward Andre Iguodala was on Durant’s left side as they made the long walk back to the room, with Myers and Stephen Curry in the group immediately behind them.
“It sucks. I feel so bad for him, his camp,” Warriors guard Klay Thompson said. “He’s going to come back stronger though. That’s the kind of fighter he is and I’m going to miss him, man. It’s not the same being out there without him.”
Durant shouted an expletive as he left the floor, his frustration obvious.
“I’m hurting deep in the soul right now,” Durant wrote on Instagram after the game.
His season is over.
The Warriors’ season isn’t.
“We do it for Kevin,” Thompson said.
Durant had been cleared by the Warriors’ medical staff after Game 4, and participated in both a practice session Sunday and a shootaround practice earlier Monday. The Warriors had said throughout his monthlong absence that they did not want him back on the floor until he was right, for fear of a scenario where Durant aggravated the injury and had no chance of returning this season.
Their nightmare came true. And if it really only was a calf injury initially, this was worse.
“It’s a bizarre feeling that we all have right now,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. “An incredible win and a horrible loss at the same time.”