The pain on his face equalled the pain in the heart of all of his teammates. And likely the pain we all felt for a great player going down.
So many questions in the aftermath of Kevin Durant crumbling to the floor with an Achilles tendon injury in the 2nd quarter of the Golden State-Toronto game.
Season over, career in jeopardy, and a lot of questions to be answered.
You had to feel the raw emotion of what happened.
WAS DURANT TOTALLY HEALTHY…He says he was, and he surely ran the floor hard, jumped and landed on that right leg in the first and second quarter. He did not make sharp cuts and his big buckets were 3-point jumpers away from the basket. No rebounds, not much defense moving side to side..
WHO DECIDED HE WAS READY TO PLAY…The Warriors say it was a combination of the trainers, doctors and the player himself.
HOW DID THEY KNOW HE WAS READY…He practiced hard in scrimmages with the rookies the last two days leading up to the Monday night game. He seemed fit.
WHY THE TEARS FROM THE GM…Good question as GM-Bob Myer got choked up at the podium in the post game press conference. If he had reservations about Durant playing, he should have interjected himself and made an exec decision.
WHAT WAS THE RISK DURANT TOOK….In retrospect a great one, for if he tore the calf it would be bad, and if the Achilles went it would be worse, yet his competitive fires pushed him to play.
IS THERE A STORY BEHIND THE STORY…In the last 24-hours comes reports the Durant had told teammates he still had discomfort while practicing but wanted to try and play for the team in whatever role he could play. Now you wonder if someone should have stepped in, who knew he still had discomfort and stop this?
THE IMPACT ON DURANT….He has an opt-in…opt-out clause in his contract. He could stay next season by opting in at (31M) and getting a payday while seeing how long the rehab takes. He could opt out and go onto the free agent market in July and get a max contract (38M) from another team, but then who signs him for 4-years without knowing what kind of player he will be coming off a long layoff. His game was explosion and quickness, will it still be there when he comes back?
NBA FREE AGENCY-TRADES…Definitely takes on a different look now, There will be no combo-signings this summer of Durant-Kawhi Leonard with the Clippers…or Durant-Kyrie Irving in New York….and it may even impact potential trades involving New Orleans and unhappy Anthony Davis.
CAN THE WARRIORS WIN….They sure can, based on the spirited comeback in Game 5-in Toronto. They will have to hit another 15-to-20 three point shots on Thursday at home, but they’ve done that before. Their defense slowed Kawhi Leonard down for nearly 3-and-a half quarters. They will need a huge game from DeMarcus Cousins, he himself having comeback from a devastating Achilles injury.
SHOULD TORONTO HAVE WON THIS ALREADY….Definitely, especially when rookie head coach Nick Nurse took a timeout with 3-minutes left, his team on a (10-2) run, and had a 6-point lead. He promptly saw Steph Curry and Klay Thompson hit 3-straight threes, trigger a (10-0) run and take the lead and win the game. They should have been celebrating in Toronto already.
WHAT’S NEXT…Stay tuned for Thursday, and a likely Warriors win, and then a game seven back in Toronto, where the Raptors should finally get the trophy.