The fallout from Kevin Durant’s Achilles injury continues. The Warriors star left the second quarter of Game 5 of the NBA Finals at Toronto Monday night, as Golden State president Bob Myers and guard Andre Iguodala assisted him off the court.
While an MRI is needed to determine the severity of the injury, Myers somberly confirmed in the postgame that the affected area is Durant’s Achilles. This has led to criticism of Myers and Warriors management for rushing their star back to the court too soon, including Hall of Famer Charles Barkley on ESPN.
Another was former NBA guard and ESPN analyst Jalen Rose. He asserted on “First Take” that there are people who are not thinking in Durant’s best interest.
“If the Golden State Warriors were up 3-1, KD would not have returned. Since they were down 3-1, he was forced to return based on all of the chatter that we knew was going to take place. ‘He’s soft. He didn’t want it. He’s not committed to the team.’…He knew that, that’s why he decided to come back.
“People will bring flowers to your funeral, but don’t bring you soup when you’re sick. That’s what I’m seeing for KD right now. Everybody’s fake acting like they care about KD’s best interest when they don’t. It’s phony to me.”
This comment seems most directed at Golden State and NBA fans, rather than the Warriors organization itself. Myers was pretty quick to accept responsibility for Durant’s injury but cautioned that it was a collaborative decision.
“Prior to him coming back, he went through four weeks with our medical team,” Myers explained in the postgame. “It was thorough with multiple experts and multiple doctors and multiple MRIs. And we felt good about the process. He was cleared to play tonight. That was a collaborative decision.”
Rose stated that though Durant was cleared to play, he was more likely at 75 percent and not ready to face Kawhi Leonard and the Raptors in a high pressure environment. This was similar to the tack Barkley took in his criticism of the Warriors organization.
“I don’t care what (the Warriors) say about it,” he stated. “They shouldn’t have put that man out there. You know how I know it? He blew out his Achilles.
“To put a guy who hadn’t played basketball in over a month into Game 5 of the Finals, who had some type of move around the day before, I don’t think that’s fair to that man.”
According to SB Nation, Achilles injuries typically take six months to a year to recover. In addition, the aggravated injury will probably diminish his free agency chances this summer and beyond.
NBC Sports Tommy Beer detailed Durant’s options.
“Durant does have a $31.5 million player option for next season. If this is the worst-case scenario, KD may [choose] to exercise that option and enter free agency in 2020. Way more questions than answers right now. Just a brutal blow for KD, who risked his prime to help his team,” Beer tweeted.
As Rose and Barkley state, Durant listening to people not looking out for him may have seriously damaged not just his Achilles, but his future prospects in the NBA.