KD thought his career was over after tearing Achilles in 2019 Finals

KD thought his career was over after tearing Achilles in 2019 Finals originally appeared on NBC Sports Bay Area

After his devastating Achilles tendon injury during Game 5 of the 2019 NBA Finals, former Warriors star Kevin Durant was unsure if he would be able to return to basketball.

In a sit-down interview with his longtime agent and business partner Rich Kleiman for the Bleacher Report cover story “35 at 35,” Durant detailed the wave of emotions he felt upon rupturing his Achilles.

“That’s when I knew, I’m like, ‘Alright, I probably won’t go back to the Bay again,’ ” Durant said. “There’s 20,000 people in there and I heard a pop so I’m like, 'Oh my gosh’ and my whole basketball career just flashed before my eyes, everything, everything I did, everything that I thought about, all my favorite moments, all my bad moments, it flashed.”

“And that’s why if you watch, I’m just sitting there gazing into the crowd before somebody came over to help me up. Because I’m just like, ‘This sh-- is over with.’ Like I truly don’t know what I’m about to be and that’s a nerve-racking feeling when you don’t know who you are.”

In 2019, Durant was returning from a strained calf during a pivotal Game 5 against the Toronto Raptors, with the then-Golden State superstar starting off the game with 11 points in the first quarter as the Warriors were looking to find a spark after losing the previous two games.

Two minutes into the second quarter as he was trying to drive past Raptors center Serge Ibaka, Durant went down with the Achilles injury that ended his third and final season with the Warriors. Despite winning Game 5, the Warriors suffered through another devastating injury to Klay Thompson in Game 6 as the Raptors closed out the series to win 4-2 in the final game at Oracle Area.

Given the type of explosive jumping required in basketball, a torn Achilles has proven to be a difficult injury to recover from. After his acrimonious departure from the Warriors and his signing with the Brooklyn Nets, Durant missed the entire 2019-2020 season before making his on-court return.

Despite the challenges of playing with a surgically repaired Achilles, Durant has recaptured his All-Star caliber form with the Nets and the Phoenix Suns.

Durant famously joined the rival Warriors in the summer of 2016, helping Golden State capture back-to-back NBA titles and winning two Finals MVPs.

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