The Golden State Warriors’ title chances and NBA free agency this summer were both thrown for a loop when Kevin Durant tore his Achilles tendon last Monday night.
Durant underwent surgery to repair the rupture, and is expected to miss all of next season. We’ll find out soon if his injury affected his pay day in free agency.
Even when Durant returns to the court, it remains to be seen what kind of form he’ll be in. Achilles tears are tough to bounce back from, as Bleacher Report’s Howard Beck detailed in a new article.
One athletic trainer Beck interviewed said he expects “at least a step back” from Durant. An unidentified team doctor cautioned that while he could return to some form of stardom, it will likely come in a different role than we’re used to.
“He’s not going to be an 82-game-a-year guy,” said a doctor working for another NBA team. “I always say that they can be the same player in smaller doses. So, fewer minutes, fewer games. You will see flashes. The sustained greatness is really, really tough.”
Durant, the doctor said, “can still be a really, really great player. But it’s going to be in 28 minutes, and it’s going to be not in back-to-backs. And it’s going to be saving himself for the playoffs.”
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) June 15, 2019
Durant should retain his elite shooting ability, and his height and length will still pose a problem to opposing defenders. However, while Durant never relied on exceptional running or leaping ability, he will likely lose some explosiveness as a result of the injury.
How he mitigates that loss could go a long way in determining how effective he’ll be.