As Warriors fans and the players face a decisive Game 6 on Thursday in Oakland, all anyone is still talking about is Kevin Durant, how serious his injury may be, and who bears the most responsibility for letting him play on Monday.
The Chronicle has a piece on how Durant was cleared for play and who made the decisions, and as foot surgeon Dr. Kenneth Jung tells the paper, "Hindsight is always 20-20. It’s a matter of weighing the risks and benefits."
Anyone who doubted the brotherhood that is the Golden State Warriors and their organization's family mentality need only refer to general manager Bob Myers' emotional postgame interview following Monday night's Game 5, where he discussed the Kevin Durant injury with reporters.
In his conversation with the media, Myers struggled to hold back tears, opening with a heartfelt mea culpa and taking responsibility for KD's injury:
"He [Durant] was cleared to play, tonight; that was a collaborative decision. I don't believe there's anybody to blame, but I understand this world. If you have to, you can blame me. I run our basketball operations department."
Myers went on to give a moving defense of KD's character, acknowledging the questions that have surrounded the All-Pro forward throughout his career and particularly during the 2018-'19 season:
"Let me tell you something about Kevin Durant. Kevin Durant loves to play basketball, and the people that questioned whether he wanted to get back to this team were wrong. And I'm not here to – he's one of the most misunderstood people; he's a good teammate, he's a good person, and it's not fair. I'm lucky to know him."
Reporters asked why Myers was "pointing the finger" at himself. He responded, saying "I'm the president of basketball [operations]." Later in the round of questions, Myers was asked about the nature of Durant's initial injury and whether it was actually a calf injury. The implication appeared to be that the organization possibly may not have been completely truthful about the original injury. Myers put that speculation to bed, standing by his medical team's initial diagnosis.
The interview spoke to the camaraderie that exists throughout the entire Warriors organization and especially between the players, coaches, and upper-level front office personnel. All throughout the weeks after Durant's initial injury, Stephen Curry, coach Steve Kerr, Klay Thompson, and countless other players were consistently peppered with questions about their injured teammate. Even though they knew they still had a job to do, every one of them always took the time to express their appreciation, admiration, brotherly love, and well-wishes for a speedy recovery, to Durant, through their answers.
Immediately following Monday night's victory, ESPN's Doris Burke caught up with Steph Curry, asking him about the evening's events. Curry broke down some of what made the team successful, but he made sure he took a moment to express his sorrow for Durant's injury and spoke of his teammate's sacrifice:
"Obviously, prayers are to KD. He gave us what he could, and we hope that he makes a speedy recovery. That's kinda the M.O. of our team; he sacrificed his body for us, and I just feel bad for him."
Curry appeared to be realizing the extent of his own emotions for what happened to KD, in real-time, cutting himself off and saying, "I've got a lot of emotions right now." This prompted Burke to move on with her line of questioning.
Meanwhile, frequent Warriors nay-sayer Charles Barkley came out blaming the Warriors management for putting Durant out there, and Kevin's mom, Wanda Durant, went on Good Morning America today and said that the Warriors' team doctors "share responsibility" for Durant's injury.
Meanwhile, Sports Illustrated Now commentator Robin Lundberg suggests that we should all respect Durant and his decision to play. "He had to know there were risks involved, that he could re-injure it, or that there could be a compensation injury," Lundberg says. Echoing that, Seattle Seahawks player Richard Sherman, himself not a stranger to an Achilles injury, wrote on Twitter, "We fully know our bodies and what we are risking especially at the professional level. I am sure there were attempts to persuade him to continue to wait. He’s built different than the ppl saying he shouldn’t have played. "
Below, the footage of Warriors GM Bob Myers, speaking to reporters about the KD injury: