Kevin Durant’s comeback game for the Golden State Warriors did not last long.
Durant left Game 5 of the NBA Finals against the Toronto Raptors early in the second quarter, limping off after presumably injuring his calf again.
It was later revealed Durant had injured his Achilles.
He got hurt on a dribble on the right wing, coming up lame on a crossover move and falling to the floor.
Warriors forward Andre Iguodala was on Durant’s left side as they made the long walk back to the room, and general manager Bob Myers and guard Stephen Curry were in the group immediately behind them.
The Warriors said Durant would not return to the game and an MRI was scheduled Tuesday to determine the severity of the injury. Durant shouted an expletive as he left the floor, his frustration obvious.
The Warriors rallied in the final minutes to beat the Raptors 106-105, cutting the series deficit to 3-2 and forcing a Game 6 at Oracle Arena on Thursday night (Friday AEST).
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 month long absence that they did not want him back on the floor until he was right, for fear of this exact scenario.
It’s a situation that is set to plunge the NBA into chaos.
FREE AGENCY RAMIFICATIONS
Durant getting injured will not just have an impact on him but it will impact the entire NBA, especially as he was mooted for a max free agency contract in the off season, which is now in jeopardy.
It’s been widely reported that Durant is set to test the waters of free agency at the end of this season with multiple suitors lining up but if it is a significant Achilles injury he has suffered it would mean the star forward could be out for a long time and as current teammate DeMarcus Cousins can attest, the comeback from that injury is one of the toughest for an athlete.
If Durant has ruptured his Achilles, he will be sidelined for most of next season, perhaps all of it, meaning his value will take one almighty hit.
Kevin Durant might have just fallen harder than he ever has before.Source:AP
And ESPN’s Brian Windhorst was quick to point out just how severe the ramifications will be.
“I was in the Warriors’ locker room and the doctors’ faces were ashen when Kevin came back there, it was almost like a mini-funeral back there,” Windhorst said.
“He limped out midway through the third quarter; you don’t leave a game of this magnitude, this is a guy that’s been cheering his team along the whole time. He just wanted to get out of there. You could feel it was really bad.
“His agent Rich Kleiman was as white as a ghost.
“The NBA just changed, the NBA just changed. Next year there’s teams crawling all over themselves to get Durant; there’s going to be this pecking order, there’s teams making trades to clear salary cap space, the thought was that he was going to be available on the market.
“In addition to this series, the entire NBA just changed tonight.”
Durant later posted a message on Instagram: “Dub Nation gonna be loud as f*** for game six I’m hurting deep in the soul right now, I can’t lie, but seeing my brothers get this win was like taking a shot of tequila, I got new life lol. #dubs.”
Should it be a major injury to his Achilles as feared Durant does have an option on his contract to stay with the Warriors next season and that could now prove the most likely scenario but could also impact the plans of other teams who could have chased Durant, including the Brooklyn Nets, who had just cleared cap space.
Durant does have a $31.5 million player option for next season.
If this is the worst-case scenario, KD may chose 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
First: this is awful for Kevin Durant. Hoping for the best.
Far, far, far second: this really throws a wrench in free agency and can have league-wide ramifications. Does KD opt in now? What was lined up and now changes?
So many questions and far too early for answers. Surreal.
WARRIORS GM IN TEARS
Warriors General Manager Bob Myers broke down at the post-match press conference after revealing the extent of Durant’s injury.
"It's an Achilles injury."
Bob Myers shares the news of KD's injury. pic.twitter.com/tdQmNYDVka
“He was cleared to play tonight. that was a collaborative decision,” Myers admitted.
“I don’t believe there’s anybody to blame. I understand this world, if you have to, you can blame me. I run our basketball operations department.
“Kevin Durant loves to play basketball and the people who questioned whether he wanted to get back to this team are wrong. He’s one of the most misunderstood people. He’s a good teammate and good person. It’s not fair.”
Raptors star Kyle Lowry — who urged the home team supporters not to boo Durant while he was sprawled across the floor — showed support for his finals opponent after the match.
“I don’t think the fans knew the significance of the injury. In this league, we’re all brothers,” Lowry said.
“You never want something like that to happen.”
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