It's official: Kevin Durant suffered a ruptured Achilles in Game 5 of the NBA Finals. He had surgery to repair his Achilles on Thursday, and posted an Instagram from his hospital bed after the procedure.
"What’s good everybody I wanted to update you all: I did rupture my Achilles. Surgery was today and it was a success, EASY MONEY," Durant captioned the post. "My road back starts now!...Like I said Monday, I'm hurting deeply, but I'm OK. Basketball is my biggest love and I wanted to be out there that night because that’s what I do. I wanted to help my teammates on our quest for the three peat. Its just the way things go in this game...It's going to be a journey but I'm built for this. I’m a hooper."
Since his initial injury during the Western Conference Semifinals, there has been speculation that Kevin Durant's health was much worse than the Warriors disclosed. The confusion surrounding his strained right calf came to a head as Golden State geared up for the game 5. After missing a month of basketball, it was announced that Kevin Durant would not only return to the floor but he would also re-enter the starting line up with no minutes restrictions.
Though questioned by fans and critics, the decision to play Durant appeared to be the right move at first. Durant was red hot from the field during the game's opening minutes. In just 12 minutes of play, KD put 11 points on 3-5 shooting. He even started the game by participating in the tip-off, showing full confidence in his health and leaping ability. Yet, early in the second quarter, Durant went down, appearing to have re-aggravated the mysterious injury. After being helped to the locker room by teammates and staff, reports began to surface claiming KD injured his Achilles and would require an MRI to confirm the severity. KD then traveled to New York to have his Achilles evaluated.
Now that doctors have confirmed Durant's status, there are a host of questions that need to be answered. The first of which is why the Warriors decided to pull the trigger and allow one of the world's most valuable players to risk his future? When asked if he regrets playing Durant, coach Steve Kerr immediately alluded to the fact it was the Warriors' front office that forced the issue.
"I’m going to leave that to [President of Basketball Operations] Bob [Myers]," Kerr responded.
When it was Myers' turn to take the podium, the executive told the media that several medical staffers had cleared Durant to practice and play in the game. Still, he assumed full responsibility for those looking for a scapegoat during his tearful post-game interview.
"I don’t believe there’s anybody to blame," Myers said. "But I understand that this world, if you have to, you can blame me. I run our basketball operations department."
Many are following Meyer's instructions. Several NBA insiders have taken it upon themselves to chastise the Warriors organization for clearing KD to play despite not being "anywhere close to 100 percent." Also, on Wednesday, KD's mother, Wanda Durant, told Good Morning America that she feels the Warriors "share responsibility" for her son's injury.
The second question mark hangs over Durant's pending free agency. Depending on his recovery time, KD could miss the entire 2019-2020 season. Not only will this shift his decision-making process but it also impacts the free agency market at large. As one of the biggest names in the game—and certainly this free agency—this summer revolves around Durant's movement. Prior to his injury, it was reported that Golden State had considered offering Kevin Durant an unprecedented deal that would allow him to sign a long-term contract with the flexibility and freedom to leave whenever he wanted. Now, it is unclear if the Warriors will engage in contract talks with KD. This also impacts the courtship of free agents Kawhi Leonard and Kyrie Irving.