TORONTO – Kevin Durant’s comeback sport for the Golden State Warriors didn’t final lengthy.
Durant left Sport 5 of the NBA Finals towards the Toronto Raptors early within the second quarter, limping off after presumably aggravating the identical damage to his decrease proper leg that had saved him out of the Warriors’ final 9 playoff video games.
With beneath 5 minutes within the fourth quarter, Toronto took a 98-97 lead.
Durant received harm on a dribble on the best wing, arising lame on a crossover transfer and falling to the ground. He grabbed the again of his leg, appeared to seize under the calf and extra towards the Achilles space, and wanted assist to limp to the bench space and extra assist to get again to the Warriors’ locker room. Warriors ahead Andre Iguodala was on Durant’s left aspect as they made the lengthy stroll again to the room, and normal supervisor Bob Myers and guard Stephen Curry had been within the group instantly behind them.
The Warriors stated Durant wouldn’t return to the sport and an MRI was scheduled Tuesday to find out the severity of the damage. Durant shouted an expletive as he left the ground, his frustration apparent.
Durant had been cleared by the Warriors’ medical employees after Sport 4, and took part in each a follow session Sunday and a shootaround follow earlier Monday. The Warriors had stated all through his monthlong absence that they didn’t need him again on the ground till he was proper, for worry of this precise situation — Durant aggravating the damage and having no likelihood of returning this season.
Warriors coach Steve Kerr stated earlier than the sport that Durant had “responded properly” to the practices.
“He will play,” Kerr stated.
And he was taking part in properly, too.
Durant had 11 factors in 12 minutes, making all three of his 3-point makes an attempt. He began and performed the primary six minutes, then had the decrease leg wrapped with a heating pad to maintain it unfastened earlier than he returned about three minutes later.
Quite a few NBA gamers reacted on Twitter rapidly — each to the damage, and to the sound of some Toronto followers cheering when Durant received harm.
“Why are they cheering for his damage? Come on man,” Philadelphia middle Joel Embiid wrote.
Added Washington’s Bobby Portis: “Raptors followers cannot cheer for a participant getting harm. That is lame.”
Many others simply despatched greatest needs, together with Miami’s Kelly Olynyk, Cleveland’s Kevin Love and Atlanta’s Trae Younger. And a few Raptors gamers, together with Kyle Lowry, urged these followers who had been cheering the sight of Durant limping to cease.
The Warriors entered the evening trailing the Raptors 3-1 within the title collection — that means their hopes of a 3rd consecutive NBA championship had been squarely on the brink now. Durant had not performed since straining a calf muscle in Sport 5 of the Western Convention semifinals towards Houston, and the group hoped his presence can be a lift.
“The ability, clearly, is plain and he is a man who can get a shot off anytime he desires,” Kerr stated earlier Monday. “He is been in comparable conditions with us the place he is had lengthy layoffs. He is Kevin Durant. If we’ve got him on the market, he’ll be a menace.”
For the 12 minutes he was on the market, Durant — the NBA Finals MVP when the Warriors captured titles in 2017 and 2018 — certainly was a menace.
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After which he limped off, leaving the Warriors to play with out him as soon as once more.