The MVP of the last two NBA championship series, Golden State Warriors star Kevin Durant, finally made his big comeback on Monday night from a strained calf — and quickly suffered what appears to be a season-ending Achilles injury. After the game, the president of the team spoke to the press and offered an emotional explanation about the decision to allow Durant to come back.
The Warriors found themselves in an unusual position going into game five Monday night: trailing their opponent, the Toronto Raptors, 3-1. Durant had been held out of the first four games and his absence was clearly having a huge impact on the series, which the Warriors had been prohibitive favorites to win going in. To Warriors fans' great relief, Durant was finally given the green light to enter the series Monday night.
Durant lasted only one quarter before going down with what looks like a far more serious injury than had kept him out of the series. When he went down, Raptors fans initially cheered before both teams rebuked them:
Despite Durant going down, the Warriors managed to take game 5 with what proved to be a game-winning three-pointer from Klay Thompson in the last minute, allowing the Warriors to get another shot to extend the series in game 6 at Oracle Arena Thursday. But after the game, the Warriors president of basketball operations Bob Myers was far from elated when he addressed the injury to the team's most important player.
"Kevin had ... it's an Achilles injury," said Myers, his voice wavering as he fought back tears. "I don't know the extent of it; he'll have an MRI tomorrow. Prior to coming back, he went through four weeks with our medical team. It was thorough, and it was experts and multiple MRIs and multiple doctors. And we felt good about the process. He was cleared to play tonight, that was a collaborative decision."
While he said he believes they did their best to be careful, Myers said he understands how things work and accepted responsibility. "I don't believe there's anybody to blame, but I understand this world," he said. "If you have to, you can blame me; I run our basketball operations department."
He then went on to blast those who "questioned whether [Durant] wanted to come back to this team." Durant, he said, is "misunderstand" by "most" people, which is "not fair," because he's a "good person" who he feels "lucky to know." Myers also stressed that those who worked with him and cleared him are "good people."
"He's one of the most misunderstood people. He's a good teammate, he's a good person, it's not fair," he said. "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 an MRI, but the people that worked with him and cleared him are good people. They're good people."
"ESPN's Ramona Shelburne and Adrian Wojnarowski report that the team fears Tuesday's MRI will reveal the injury to be a tear of the Achilles tendon, the same injury that kept DeMarcus Cousins out of action for one year," CBS San Francisco reports. "The Athletic's Shams Charania reported Thursday afternoon that Durant is traveling to New York for doctors to evaluate his injured Achilles."