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Kerr on Kevin Durant injury: it was a ‘complete shock’

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By Janiel Abby Toralba

Fans can now breathe a sigh of relief as Golden State Warriors superstar Kevin Durant had undergone a succesful surgery with his right Achilles injury. He got injured during the second quarter in Game 5 of the NBA Finals against Toronto Raptors last Tuesday (Manila time).

Durant posted on his Instagram account: “What’s good everybody I wanted to update you all: I did rupture my Achilles. Surgery was today and it was a success,” together with a picture of him lying in his hospital bed. As per the Warriors management, the surgery was performed at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York with Dr. Martin O’Malley.

Fans and critics had been questioning why the Warriors had even let Durant play after him getting injured last May 8 during the Western Conference semifinals against the Houston Rockets. It was clear that Durant wasn’t in a full billing of health and certainly not in a top condition. People think that it had been unwise to prioritize getting another championship for the team over their own player’s health.

However, head coach Steve Kerr said that the Achilles injury came as a “complete shock” to the Warriors organization after their Wednesday’s practice. He defended the Warriors’ decision, saying that it was a collective decision to let KD play and that the organization had done everything it could to make sure Durant was cleared before letting him in the court.

“I completely understand the world we live in,” Kerr said. “As [Warriors general manager] Bob [Myers] mentioned the other night, there’s going to be blame. There’s going to be finger-pointing, and we understand that. And we accept that. This is kind of what you sign up for when you get into coaching, general management in the NBA. There’s all kinds of coverage, judgment, criticism, and it’s all part of it, so we accept that. The main thing is our concern for Kevin and these last couple of days just checking on him. Obviously, everybody feels horrible for what happened.”

“As Bob mentioned the other night,” Kerr stressed, “his last month was a cumulative, collaborative, effort in his rehabilitation. And that collaboration included Kevin and his business partner Rich Kleiman, our medical staff, his own outside opinion, second opinion, doctor outside of our organization. Kevin checked all the boxes, and he was cleared to play by everybody involved.”

Kerr also explained that the organization had done everything it could to make sure Durant wasn’t put on more risk to further injury, even though the superstar hasn’t seen action for over a month.

“Now, would we go back and do it over again? Damn right,” Kerr said. “But that’s easy to say after the results. When we gathered all the information, our feeling was the worst thing that could happen would be a reinjury of the calf. That was the advice and the information that we had. At that point, once Kevin was cleared to play, he was comfortable with that, we were comfortable with that. So the Achilles came as a complete shock.”

“I don’t know what else to add to that, other than had we known that this was a possibility, that this was even in the realm of possibility, there’s no way we ever would have allowed Kevin to come back.”

Kerr and several players in the Warriors team acknowledged the sadness and shock that the team still felt following Durant’s injury. Nobody really wanted this to happen, and everyone is praying for KD’s speedy recovery. The question now is, will the loss of KD prove to be detrimental to the Warriors’ victory as it did in the previous games, or will the rest stand up and not let KD’s contribution go to waste? Game 6 holds all the answers to the fierce battle for the NBA Championship crown to be held on Friday (Manila time).