Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr explained the process that led to Kevin Durant’s brief return in Game 5 of the 2019 NBA Finals.
Kerr told reporters Wednesday the Warriors worked their own doctors, Durant and his doctors, and Durant’s manager Rich Kleiman before determining he was cleared to play, per the Los Angeles Times‘ Dan Woike.
Kerr added that Durant’s Achilles injury was a “complete shock” and wasn’t thought to be a possibility after he recovered from a right calf strain.
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“We made the decision collaboratively with all the information that we had and we thought it was the right one.” – Steve Kerr responds to potential criticism their team may face from KD’s injury. #NBAFinals https://t.co/hlyGMOCLRP
Durant confirmedWednesday on Instagram he underwent surgery for a ruptured Achilles, affirming the worst fears of Warriors and basketball fans writ large. According to The Athletic’s Sam Amick, Durant informed the team of the procedure before announcing it publicly.
Although the time frame for his recovery is unclear, Durant is likely to miss a large chunk of 2019-20 and will probably be out for the entire season.
Durant’s health was a dominant storyline in the Finals, especially as the Warriors fell behind 3-1 to the Toronto Raptors.
He provided a huge boost in his return, scoring 11 points in 12 minutes on the floor. But in the second quarter Durant went down and immediately grabbed the back of his right ankle.
Warriors general manager Bob Myers spoke to reporters after Golden State’s 106-105 win and confirmed Durant had injured his Achilles but that the extent of the injury was unknown.
Before Game 5 even ended, many wondered whether Durant should’ve received the green light to play. He had been out of action for a little over a month and was only cleared for full practice the day before the game.
Kerr’s comments provide some more insight on what was happening behind the scenes as Durant determined he was ready to come back, and additional information is bound to come out in the days and weeks ahead.