Raptors star Kawhi Leonard offered some sympathy for Kevin Durant after the Warriors forward left Game 5 of the NBA Finals early with yet another injury.
Leonard has been in a similar position as Durant, missing the first 27 games of the 2017-18 season because of a quadriceps injury. He returned briefly, appearing in just nine games, but spent the end of the season rehabbing his injury.
After Durant left Monday’s game with an Achilles injury, Leonard said he could relate to Durant’s situation.
“It’s devastating,” Leonard told reporters. “You work so hard to get to this point, these are the last games, you see him try to come out and push himself, but obviously he tried to do a move — and I feel bad for him. I’ve been in that situation before. I hope he has a speedy recovery, and just gets healthy and I hope that he’s going to be okay mentally, just throughout the whole rehab process.
“We work so hard to either play in the Finals or just play in the NBA, and when you’re not playing, it’s hard to wrap your mind around it. But I’m pretty sure he’s going to attack each day and get better and come back strong.”
Kawhi Leonard wishes Kevin Durant a speedy recovery. 🙌🏼 pic.twitter.com/n5nkorEBUW
— 95.7 The Game (@957thegame) June 11, 2019
Durant’s injury came with a little more than 9:45 to play before halftime. He attempted to drive to the basket, but fell to the ground and grabbed his leg. He was helped off the court by trainers and was seen leaving the arena on crutches in a walking boot.
Warriors general manager Bob Myers said Durant will have an MRI on Tuesday to determine the severity of the injury. ESPN reported that the Warriors believe the MRI will confirm an Achilles tear.
Durant had worked his way back into the lineup after suffering a calf injury in Game 5 of the Western Conference semifinals against the Rockets, forcing him to miss the Warriors’ previous nine playoff games.
“I hope he’s keeping his spirits up through it,” Leonard said. “I know he’s going to get through it. He’s a great basketball player and he wants to come back and be a great player, Hall of Fame player. But the simple fact that you’re just hurt and you want to get out and play, but you really got to just take your time and be patient and let the weeks and months go by.”
The Warriors went on to defeat the Raptors 106-105 in Game 5, but the Raptors hold a 3-2 series lead. The two teams will play in Game 6 on Thursday at 9 p.m. ET (ABC).