Report: Durant doesn't blame Warriors for injury
ABS-CBN Sports on Aug 08, 2019 08:35 AM
FILE - DENVER, CO - FEBRUARY 2: Kevin Durant #35, then of the Golden State Warriors, high-fives fans before the game against the Los Angeles Lakers on February 2, 2019 at the Pepsi Center in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Garrett Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images)
Kevin Durant isn't putting the blame on his former team, the Golden State Warriors, for the Achilles tendon injury he suffered in Game 5 of the 2019 NBA Finals versus the Toronto Raptors.
In an interview with Yahoo Sports' Chris Haynes, Durant flatly denied reports that the Warriors had pressured him to play earlier than what was warranted from a calf injury suffered in the Western Conference semifinals against the Houston Rockets.
“Hell, no. How can you blame [the Warriors]? Hell, no,” Durant told Yahoo Sports. “I heard the Warriors pressured me into getting back. Nobody never said a word to me during rehab as I was coming back. It was only me and [director of sports medicine and performance] Rick [Celebrini] working out every day. Right when the series started, I targeted Game 5. Hell, nah. It just happened. It’s basketball. S--- happens. Nobody was responsible for it. It was just the game. We just need to move on from that s--- because I’m going to be back playing.”
“Yeah, I still think about that night,” Durant told Yahoo Sports. “Every experience I’ve been through in the league is obviously always ingrained in my mind, but that one is definitely always going to be a huge part of my career because it’s the biggest stage and the type of injury I had. But now I look at it as me just going out there playing basketball, and I happened to get hurt. And now I’m just waiting to get back. I know it’s a huge deal to everybody else, but I just try to take it on the chin and keep it moving.”
It’s that mindset that pushed Durant to keep working to be ready for the NBA Finals.
“No matter what the series was, I was aiming for Game 5,” he said. “That’s why I played when it was 3-1. No matter what, I just wanted to play in the Finals. I just wanted to hoop, especially if I could be out there. I was feeling good leading up to it. I was working out every day. I was gradually getting back to myself doing the two-a-days. I was really locked in on my game and trying to get back. I really wanted to play in that series.”
Since the injury, Durant has signed with the Brooklyn Nets, leaving the Warriors after three seasons, two NBA championships, and two Finals MVP prizes.
In the same interview, Durant denied that his mid-November in-game spat with Warriors forward Draymond Green had an effect on his decision to leave:
“Hell, yeah, I’m tired of talking about that s---. Look, we’re grown men,” Durant told Yahoo Sports. “We understand what this is. We’re playing basketball for a living. It’s a business. Everybody congratulated me when I went to the Nets. Everybody wished me well, and they know that I’m still a phone call away. So, I just happen to play in a different jersey now. Nothing else is going to change.”
Durant also maintained that the only time he made a concrete decision as to where he would sign was the day free agency began.