Jay Williams said the Warriors misdiagnosed the superstar forward’s leg injury before and during the NBA Finals.
That sounded telling. Williams and Durant are close. But as I’ve said all along, Williams doesn’t speak for Durant. Durant would eventually get an opportunity to speak for himself.
Durant, who since left Golden State for the Nets, is finally doing that.
Did the Warriors mishandle his injury?
Durant, via Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports:
“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.”
If Durant won’t say the Warriors misdiagnosed him, that ends here. Outsiders don’t have access to the medical information necessary to take up that mantle.
But even if Durant won’t connect these dots, I’ll say Golden State did him him wrong if the target was always Game 5. The Warriors’ daily updates during the Finals made it sound as if he might return sooner. As he continued to sit, questions emerged about his desire to return to play when free agency was just around the corner.
Maybe he never heard directly from anyone on the team. But there was definitely chatter.
That wasn’t fair to Durant.
As long as he wants to move on, everyone will. Nobody will hold a grudge on his behalf that he doesn’t want. But before we all move forward, I think it’s worth pointing out Golden State’s messaging cast unnecessary aspersions on him.