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The Grueling Truth - Where Legends Speak / Should Kevin Durant Play Game 5 of the NBA Finals? Should We Question His Toughness if He Doesn’t?

Should Kevin Durant Play Game 5 of the NBA Finals? Should We Question His Toughness if He Doesn’t?

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Publish Date: 06/09/2019
Fact checked by: Mark Lewis

I have heard people all week question the courage of Kevin Durant. They all say it’s the Finals and he needs to gut it out and play. For these people, I say sit down and shut up! Durant is a warrior on the court and to question whether he should play or not is a huge slap in the face to one of the best players in the game.

The same people that question Durant forget about Leonard last year

Let’s look back one year ago and take a look at how Kahi Leonard’s career came to a close. Do you remember what happened? Just last year Leonard didn’t play for the Spurs in the playoffs. Not just the playoffs, but pretty much all season. He was hurt, and even when the team got questioned the validity of his injury Leonard still refused to play. In the end, Leonard didn’t feel healthy enough to play and it destroyed his relationship with the team. He did what was best for him and his career, and now here he is, a portrait of both patience and perseverance on the cusp of winning a championship. The same people that questioned Leonard last year, have quickly forgotten what happened with Leonard last year and are now praising him as the best player in the game.

Do you know how bad Durant is hurt? Do you?

No, you don’t and neither do I, but I would assume the Warriors team doctors do.

ESPN’s Brian Windhorst reported that both Durant and the Warriors are frustrated by his lack of progress with this injury. It was initially believed to be a two-week injury, maybe a little more depending on how he responded to treatment. We’re now going on five weeks by the time game 5 tips off.

“Durant just isn’t ready,” Windhorst said. “His body isn’t ready. The trainers don’t believe it, he doesn’t believe it. He tried to do some stuff at practice [on Thursday]. It didn’t work.”

So why would the Warriors trainers cover for Durant? The answer is they wouldn’t! So if the team doctors say he is not ready why are there fans questioning the courage of Durant? That’s easy, they are fans and it is really easy to sit on the sidelines and question how tough somebody is and the people that question that toughness in cases like this are people who have never played the game at the level Durant plays it at.

Long-term consequences of playing

If you have broken ribs or a broken jaw you can, as fans, say tough it out, but as a basketball player with a calf injury did you ever think maybe you can’t tough some injuries out?

On Thursday, Dr. Alan Beyer, an orthopedic surgeon and the executive medical director at the Hoag Orthopedic Institute in Southern California, told CBS Sports that at this point in Durant’s rehab, “It really is day to day.”

“This injury is a matter of performance,” Dr. Beyer told CBS Sports. “Durant is a guy that needs absolutely optimal performance of his gastric muscle (calf) to jump. He can’t do the things he needs to do to play. Again, it’s entirely feasible that function just won’t return in time to play in this series. Or he could wake up and have that breakthrough he needs, ramp up his on-court activity and get back out there.”

What if he plays? What’s the worst the could happen? “If [Durant] comes back on a still partially torn calf and then fully tears it, that would be a major injury,” Dr. Beyer said. A fully torn calf, according to Dr. Beyer, is something that could affect him the rest of his career. In a worst-case scenario, compensating for an unstable calf muscle could put Durant at risk of tearing his Achilles tendon just a bit down from his current injury site”.

So the question at the end of the day happens to be is playing in this NBA Finals worth the risk? The answer is very easy, NO it’s not! Durant will be the main free agent available this year and the money he will command will be astronomical. Why would this game 5 be worth the risk of number one losing all that money and more importantly, why would it be worth risking his entire career? Just remember last year Leonard was in this same situation and all the fans were questioning his courage, all those people are now saying how great he is.

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