Kevin Durant’s shock injury exit stuns one and all

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

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.”


97 players, staff test positive for virus as Saudi football clubs resume training

Updated 12 July 2020

97 players, staff test positive for virus as Saudi football clubs resume training

  • Authorities introduce a range of protocols to ensure a safe return to competition

JEDDAH: Almost 100 footballers and staff have tested positive for COVID-19 as Saudi football clubs resume training for the Prince Mohammed bin Salman Football League competitions.

The Saudi Arabian Football Federation said that 1,351 tests were carried out between June 21 and July 8, resulting in 50 players and 47 administrative staff testing positive.

Matches in the professional league are set to resume on Aug. 4 after being suspended in March due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which halted all sports activities in the Kingdom.

The Saudi Pro League Association and relevant authorities have introduced a range of protocols to ensure a safe return to competition.

Players are encouraged to use hand sanitizers and disinfectants before and after training. Surfaces will be cleaned and sanitized around the clock, and coaching and administrative staff must wear face masks at all times.

Staff and players will have their temperatures checked at the entrance to training grounds, which will have designated entrances and exits to avoid overcrowding. Staff will also check for symptoms among players during training sessions.

HIGHLIGHTS

• According to the Saudi Arabian Football Federation, 1,351 tests were carried out between June 21 and July 8, resulting in 50 players and 47 administrative staff testing positive.

• Matches in the professional league are set to resume on Aug. 4 after being suspended in March due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which halted all sports activities in the Kingdom.

• The Saudi Pro League Association and relevant authorities have introduced a range of protocols to ensure a safe return to competition.

Pools will remain closed, while equipment including balls, goalposts and training items, as well as training spaces used by players, will be disinfected before and after use.

Staff members older than 65 and those who suffer from chronic illness will not be allowed on the field.

The federation also decided to increase the number of substitutes during a game from three to five in line with amendments approved by the International Football Association.

Players must follow social distancing rules while training and on substitute benches and in locker rooms. Exchanging shirts and handshakes are prohibited.

Games will be played without fans.

Training resumed on June 21, 2020, in line with medical protocols and precautionary measures.