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Since first hurting his leg during the Western Conference Semifinals, the Warriors made a point to disclose little about the severity of Kevin Durant's injury. Consequently, KD sat out for a month during the playoffs to rehab what was labeled as a strained right calf. With a fluctuating time table for his return and conflicting reports speculating about his health, it came as a shock when the Warriors announced that KD would start in Monday's Game 5 with no minutes restriction. This proved to be an ill-advised decision as Durant re-aggravated his injury in the second quarter and was forced to leave the game with an assumed torn Achilles. Now, it is being reported that the organization knew KD wasn't healthy enough to play, but coaxed him onto the court anyway.
Ahead of Game 5, the Warriors said that Durant was cleared to practice and had been participating in scrimmages that replicate game scenarios. But, a source disclosed to Yahoo Sports' Chris Haynes that Durant was cleared by the medical staff despite not being "anywhere close to 100 percent."
"Even though he was cleared for Game 5, Durant was not anywhere close to 100 percent," Haynes wrote. "The individual workout sessions and the light practice session on Sunday could not simulate the rigors of an ultra-competitive championship game."
Reports like these make people wonder who truly cares about the health of these athletes. In the wake of Durant's devastating injury, his teammates and former NBA players have chosen to remove their filters and speak candidly about how an athlete is perceived.
"The reason why he shouldn't have played—there's multiple answers to this question. One, I blame the overall culture of sports," Jalen Rose said on First Take. "If the Golden State Warriors were up 3-1, he wouldn't have returned. But since they were down 3-1, he was forced to return because of all the chatter we knew he would face."
"There's a group called State Property that I loved growing up," Rose continued. "It there's one of the things I think Omillio Sparks said... '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 fake acting like they care about KD's best interest when they don't. It's phony to me. I just said on Friday night on NBA Countdown that KD's work out did not go well...We got our pound of flesh. As media, as fans, as people who watch this league faithfully. We wanted to see KD give himself to us."
Rose's comments echo the sentiments of KD's teammate DeMarcus Cousins. When asked about the Toronto fans' response to Durant's injury, Cousins explained that most people dehumanize athletes.
"Trash, So trash," Cousins responded. "But it's like I said. We're only idolized as superstar athletes not human beings. It's always about what we can do between those lines. That's it. That's all that ever mattered. And then once we lash out and do human type things then we're considered bad guys."