It didn’t take long during game five of the NBA Finals for the Golden State Warriors worst fears to be realized. After clearing Kevin Durant to play for the first time in 33 games with a calf strain, the superstar injured his Achilles at the end of the second quarter.
Warriors franchise star Stephen Curry, along with Andre Iguodala, helped Durant to the locker room. The press was not allowed entrance, being told emotions were too high. After halftime, Durant was shown leaving the arena with crutches and walking boot. When the game ended, it was announced he was dealing with an undisclosed Achilles injury.
The loss of Durant brings up the obvious question; should he have played in the first place? By all accounts, everyone involved in the decision-making process knew the risks of clearing him to play. The Warriors were also desperate for a morale boost after falling down 3-1 and losing two games at home.
During the regular season, bringing a player with a serious injury back would be a “No,” but in the Finals, it becomes a much more complicated story. And if Durant didn’t get hurt, no one would be questioning the move today. Should he have played? Probably not. Was it always inevitable he was going to play in a “Hail Mary” scenario? Absolutely.