Kevin Durant’s shock injury exit stuns one and all

Golden State Warriors forward Kevin Durant. (USA TODAY)
Updated 12 June 2019
0

Kevin Durant’s shock injury exit stuns one and all

  • Durant suffered a right Achilles tendon injury

TORONTO: When Golden State star Kevin Durant went down 12 minutes into his long-awaited comeback game Monday in the NBA Finals, players on both sides were stunned.

Durant, the 2017 and 2018 NBA Finals Most Valuable Player, suffered a right Achilles tendon injury in the Warriors’ 106-105 victory over Toronto, trimming the Raptors’ lead to 3-2 in the best-of-seven series.

“It was a real shock when he went down,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. “There was just a couple minutes where it all seemed so eerie and strange and it took maybe a little bit for both teams to collect themselves.”

Durant, who missed the past month with a right calf injury, planted his foot, pulled up and sat down on the floor. He was helped to the locker room and left the arena on crutches.

“I just tried to refocus, but that was very deflating,” Warriors guard Klay Thompson said. “It obviously inspires you to play harder knowing your best player can’t be out there.

“You think of him every time you dive for a loose ball or go for a rebound, because I know him and I know how bad he wants to be out there. That’s why he was out there. It sucks.

“He’s a warrior. He sacrificed his health for us. For him to put his health on the line, to come back and compete at the highest level, we miss him. That’s our brother. It’s hard to even celebrate this win.”

Raptors coach Nick Nurse was just as stunned after Durant opened 3-of-3 from 3-point range and finished with 11 points.

“When anybody goes down you’re saddened by it, but when one of the great players like that goes down, it’s almost shocking,” Nurse said. “Some of the guys on our bench were really shook up.

“It’s always a little eerie feeling for everybody when something like that happens on a big stage like this.”

As Toronto guard Kyle Lowry put it: “In this league we’re all brothers. And it’s a small brotherhood. You never want to see a competitor like him go down.”

Warriors general manager Bob Myers said multiple doctors approved Durant to play.

“I don’t believe there’s anybody to blame but I understand this world and if you have to, you can blame me,” Myers said.

“People that questioned whether he wanted to get back to this team were wrong. He’s a good teammate. He’s a good person. It’s not fair.”

Warriors swingman Andre Iguodala helped Durant back to the locker room, saying people don’t appreciate the bond among the players.

“It’s more than basketball. But no one wants to understand that part. They only care about the game,” Iguodala said.

“We always talk about how this team is with one another, but people still don’t really grasp what we’re talking about. When we say this is like a real brotherhood, people have no clue what goes into that and how we feel about each other.”

Durant can count on his teammates to be there for him, Warriors guard Stephen Curry said.

“He gave us what he had, he went out there and sacrificed his body,” Curry said. “I just feel so bad for him. Nobody should have to go through something like that. He’s going to go through some challenges through this process, however long it takes, but we’re going to be there for him.”

Toronto’s Fred VanVleet respected Durant’s determination to try and play in a must-win game for Golden State.

“I know we’re opponents and competing as hard as we possibly can, but you never want to see anyone get injured,” VanVleet said. “He put his body on the line for those guys and that franchise. We feel for him. It’s very unfortunate. It sucks.”

No one knows that like Toronto star Kawhi Leonard, who missed most of last season with an injury.

“It’s devastating,” Leonard said. “You see him try to come out and push himself. I feel bad for him. I’m pretty sure he’s going to attack each day and get better and come back strong.”


Unrivaled: India now 7-0 in World Cup games against Pakistan

Updated 17 June 2019
0

Unrivaled: India now 7-0 in World Cup games against Pakistan

  • Conditions did not dampen the enthusiasm of a predominantly pro-India crowd 

MANCHESTER, UK: For such an intense rivalry, it is still a lopsided contest when India and Pakistan meet at the Cricket World Cup.

India extended their record to 7-0 against Pakistan at the World Cup with an 89-run victory in a rain-interrupted encounter Sunday that likely will remain the most-watched game of the six-week tournament.

India started ominously with Rohit Sharma scoring 140 from 113 deliveries and skipper Virat Kohli contributing 77 in a total of 336-5, a record for a One-Day International at Old Trafford.

Pakistan were always behind the run-rate required.

Fakhar Zaman (62) and Babar Azam (48) put on 104 for the second wicket but when both were dismissed by left-arm wrist spinner Kuldeep Yadav within nine balls, Pakistan’s hopes faded with them.

When Hardik Pandya took wickets with consecutive deliveries in the 27th over, Pakistan were 129-5. And with a result in play because both teams had batted more than 20 overs, there was no chance of sharing points if rain prevented any more play. A delay after the 35th with Pakistan at 166-6 just prolonged the inevitable.

Pakistan were  set a revised target of 302 from 40 overs and the last five overs were a non-event with Pakistan finishing 212-6. India remained unbeaten in four games to start the tournament.

The conditions did not dampen the enthusiasm of a predominantly pro-India crowd that filled the 162-year-old venue to its 23,500 capacity. Seats were in excessively high demand, after all, with the International Cricket Council reporting more than 800,000 ticket applications for the game.

There is always extra significance when the nuclear-armed neighboring countries meet at ICC tournaments because India and Pakistan play cricket so infrequently in bilateral series.

This was no different, with a 1 billion-plus TV audience and an almost football-like atmosphere at the ground.

Kohli’s single to get off the mark was met by “Kohli-Kohli-Kohli” chants from the predominantly pro-India crowd.

Sharma set the tone with his second century of the tournament, sharing partnerships of 136 with KL Rahul (57) for the first wicket and 98 with Kohli for the second.

He seemed ready to really unleash when he needlessly paddled a ball from Hasan Ali to Wahab Riaz at short fine leg in the 38th over.

Kohli continued, becoming the third Indian batter to pass 11,000 ODI runs. In doing so in his 222nd innings, he became the fastest to reach the milestone.

Kohli was on 71 and India was 305-4 when rain stopped play for the first time in the 47th over. The India captain was caught behind off Mohammad Amir’s bowling not long after he returned from the 55-minute rain break and, surprisingly, walked off before umpire Marais Erasmus had a chance to signal him out.

There was some speculation Kohli did not edge the ball but it was inconsequential in the end, as India passed Sri Lanka’s 318-7 against England in 2006 to set the highest ODI total in Manchester.

After a batting onslaught at the top, Pakistan pegged back the run-rate slightly as Amir (3-47) dismissed Pandya (26) and then had MS Dhoni (1) and Kohli caught behind — both the ex-captain and captain walking.

Things started going haywire for Pakistan after skipper Sarfaraz Ahmed won the toss and fielded, going against the advice sent via social media by Prime Minister and 1992 World Cup-winning captain Imran Khan.

Overcast and cool overhead conditions that usually would favor swing and seam bowling didn’t greatly assist the Pakistan attack, with India racing to 52-0 in its most productive opening power play of the tournament.

The Pakistan pacemen had trouble with the umpires, with Amir and Wahab each cautioned twice for running on the protected area in the middle of the pitch. One further warning would have resulted in a suspension.

It also didn’t help that opener Imam-ul-Haq got out in rare circumstances to Vijay Shankar’s very first delivery at a World Cup — it coming on the fifth ball of Pakistan’s fifth over after Shankar was asked to finish it off for injured teammate Bhuveshwar Kumar.

Pakistan’s next game is at Lord’s against South Africa, which also has three points and only remote prospects of reaching the semifinals.