OAKLAND, Calif. — The NBA’s worst fears have been confirmed.
Kevin Durant, who left in the second quarter of the Warriors’ Game 5 win in Toronto on Monday, indeed ruptured his Achilles tendon. The Warriors star underwent surgery Wednesday in New York, he revealed on Instagram, providing more clarity for his impending free agency.
“What’s good everybody I wanted to update you all: I did rupture my Achilles. Surgery was today and it was a success, EASY MONEY,” Durant said. “My road back starts now! I got my family and my loved ones by my side and we truly appreciate all the messages and support people have sent our way. Like I said Monday, I’m hurting deeply, but I’m OK. Basketball is my biggest love and I wanted to be out there that night because that’s what I do. I wanted to help my teammates on our quest for the three peat.”
Durant’s surgery was performed by Dr. Martin O’Malley, an associate attending orthopedic surgeon at Hospital for Special Surgery who operated on Durant’s foot in 2015, the Warriors announced Wednesday night.
O’Malley also doubles as the Nets’ team physician and, according to a source, previously served as an ankle and foot consultant with the Knicks, but no longer does.
The Knicks are still planning to pursue Durant in free agency this offseason, and indications around the league are they won’t be alone. The Nets also had been mentioned as suitors.
But Durant could miss all of next season, so buyer beware. The timetables for recovery run from eight to 12 months.
Durant’s Instagram post from New York came moments after coach Steve Kerr held his off-day press conference Wednesday at Oracle Arena, with the Warriors having no knowledge of their star player’s announcement.
It was perhaps symbolic. Kerr had just said there was no news on Durant and that he regretted the decision to play him Monday.
For now, Durant is concentrating on his teammates, who will try and dig out of a 3-2 hole after Monday’s 106-105 victory.
Durant missed the Warriors’ previous nine games with a calf injury sustained during the Western Conference semifinals before suiting up for Game 5. He scored 11 points in 12 minutes before exiting in the second quarter, grabbing his right Achilles tendon as he collapsed after making a move on the Raptors’ Serge Ibaka.
“It’s just the way things go in this game and I’m proud that I gave it all I physically could, and I’m proud my brothers got the W,” Durant wrote. “It’s going to be a journey but I’m built for this. I’m a hooper. I know my brothers can get this Game 6, and I will be cheering with dub nation while they do it.”
Kerr said the organization felt the only risk in allowing Durant to play was the potential of hurting the calf again, not injuring the Achilles. Kerr added he “felt horribly” for the celebrated chief of the Warriors’ medical staff, Dr. Rick Celebrini.
“There’s going to be finger-pointing,’’ Kerr said. “We understand that and we accept that. Obviously, everybody feels horrible for what happened. This last month was a cumulative collaborative effort in his rehabilitation. And that collaboration included Kevin and his business partner, Rich Kleiman, our medical staff, his own outside second opinion doctor, outside of our organization. Kevin checked all the boxes, and he was cleared to play by everybody involved.
“Now, would we go back and do it over again? Damn right. But that’s easy to say after the results. … Our feeling was the worst thing that could happen would be a reinjury of the calf. That was the advice and the information that we had. So the Achilles came as a complete shock.”
“Everybody has great 20/20 hindsight,’’ Stephen Curry added.
Warriors center DeMarcus Cousins, who sat out a year rehabbing from an Achilles tear, said he has yet to talk to Durant about the rehab process.
“We’re nowhere near even close for that now,” Cousins said. “You give him space.
“It’s a tough process just straight up,” Cousins added. “Nobody don’t really understand that type of an injury unless you go through it yourself. So it’s tough.’’