Golden State Warriors superstar Kevin Durant underwent surgery for a ruptured Achilles, he confirmed Wednesday on Instagram.
“My road back starts now!” Durant wrote. “I got my family and my loved ones by my side and we truly appreciate all the messages and support people have sent our way. 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.”
Sam Amickof The Athletic reported the team was aware of Durant’s surgery prior to his Instagram announcement. Warriors coach Steve Kerr had said earlier in the day, per ESPN’s Nick Friedell, that “we don’t have any news on Kevin right now.”
The procedure officially ends the 2013-14 NBA MVP’s season.
Golden State president of basketball operations Bob Myers revealed following Monday night’s 106-105 victory over the Toronto Raptors in Game 5 of the 2019 NBA Finals that Durant suffered an Achilles injury.
An MRI on Tuesday confirmed a tear.
Durant had missed the Warriors’ previous nine games after he left Game 5 of the Western Conference semifinals on May 8. He was diagnosed with a right calf strain.
Just over a week after the injury, Golden State coach Steve Kerr revealed it was “more serious” than initially believed. Durant later said his injury was more severe than any previous calf issue he had dealt with:
95.7 The Game @957thegame
Kevin Durant details his progress as he rehabs from calf injury. #Warriors https://t.co/p4naLTbJix
With his team on the brink of elimination while trailing the Raptors 3-1, Durant gave it a go Monday night. Kerr had said before the contest that he planned to ease the two-time Finals MVP back into action by using him in “short bursts.” However, Durant played in 12 of the first 14 minutes of the game.
He exited early in the second quarter after going down with a non-contact injury.
It was immediately apparent the injury was serious, and he wound up leaving Scotiabank Arena in a walking boot and on crutches. He later took to Instagram to post a message (Warning: includes NSFW language):
Ramona Shelburne @ramonashelburne
Kevin Durant on IG https://t.co/kvUPtNUtZn
After the game, an emotional Myers said he didn’t believe anyone was to blame for the injury, though he was willing to accept responsibility:
Now, Golden State will have to try to win its third straight title without Durant.
He had been playing at a superstar level before his initial injury, averaging 34.2 points in 11 appearances during the playoffs. Even after being sidelined for more than a month, he picked up right where he left off, scoring 11 points while going 3-of-3 from beyond the arc Monday.
According to ESPN Stats and Info, the Warriors’ 34 points in the first quarter of Game 5 were the most they had scored in any quarter during the Finals. It was the only full quarter in which they had Durant in the series.
Golden State’s losses in the Finals have each come by nine or more points, while its two victories have come by a combined six points.
The Warriors won a championship without Durant in 2015 and were one win away from a second title in 2016. However, those rosters featured not only a younger core but more depth, with the likes of Harrison Barnes and Marreese Speights contributing.
Meanwhile, Stephen Curry (finger), Klay Thompson (hamstring), DeMarcus Cousins (quad) and Kevon Looney (collarbone) have all dealt with injuries this postseason.
Game 6 will be played at Oracle Arena on Thursday at 9 p.m. ET.