The Golden State Warriors may have avoided elimination in game 5 of the NBA Finals against the Toronto Raptors, but they lost their best player to injury again. Kevin Durant returned to the lineup after being sidelined due to a calf injury he suffered on May 8th. He got off to a fast start, scoring 11 points in the first quarter.
His return was short-lived. Just minutes into the second quarter, Durant fell to the court in pain, clutching his right calf. He was helped off the court and left the arena on crutches, with his foot in a walking boot.
After the game, Warriors general manager Bob Myers confirmed fans' worst nightmare. Durant suffered an Achilles injury and will miss the rest of the series, and possibly all of next season as well. He will have an MRI to determine the severity of the injury.
Myers said that Durant's calf injury was not a concern and that he was cleared to play in the win-or-go-home game.
"He was cleared to play tonight," Myers said. "That was a collaborative decision. I don't believe there's anybody to blame, but I understand in this world, and if you have to, you can blame me. I run our basketball operations department. And to tell you something about Kevin Durant: Kevin Durant loves to play basketball, and the people that questioned whether he wanted to get back to this team were wrong."
While the injury puts a dent in the Warriors' chances of staging a comeback to win the NBA championship, it also impacts the upcoming off-season. Durant was set to become an unrestricted free agent and was likely to sign a max contract with another team. With his injury, it is possible Durant will miss all of next season. He does have the option of taking $31.5 million to stay with the Warriors for one more season.
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