There are going to be a lot of questions asked of the decision makers on the Golden State Warriors after Kevin Durant injured his right Achilles in his first game back from suffering a right calf strain. Was this a stroke of bad luck or could it have been prevented? Who’s to blame? Is there even blame to assign?
Charles Barkley doesn’t need to ask any of those questions. The outspoken NBA commentator and Hall of Famer already has the answers he needs. On Tuesday morning, Barkley appeared on ESPN’s “Get Up” and said there is blame to assign for Durant’s injury, and it unquestionably belongs to the Warriors.
"I blame the Warriors for KD getting hurt and I don't care what they say about it."— Get Up (@GetUpESPN) June 11, 2019
Charles Barkley brought the heat, saying the Warriors shouldn't have played Kevin Durant in Game 5 pic.twitter.com/uyTgg2qsCS
“You’ve been asking these guys all morning if there’s somebody to blame. Yes there is somebody to blame. The Golden State Warriors for putting KD out there. Listen, that was not right. You know, if you go back and look at the last two weeks, the article comes out, ‘KD’s worst nightmare, the Warriors are winning without him.’ Then you come out and read the articles, ‘The Warriors are really unhappy that KD won’t risk his Achilles, they’re frustrated with KD.’ Now this man has to be feeling some type of way. So I blame the Warriors for KD getting hurt and I don’t care what they say about it. They shouldn’t have put that man out there. You know how I know it? Cause he blew out his Achilles.”
Barkley certainly has his mind made up. (Though all we know for now is that Durant suffered an Achilles injury — there’s no confirmation that he “blew out” his Achilles.) Barkley went on to clarify with the hosts why he thinks the Warriors’ decision-makers should be blamed for what happened.
“I don’t think you can ever leave it up to a player, because players always want to play. But I think if you ask any rational player, Damon, Jalen Rose, Jay Williams, to put a guy who hadn’t played basketball in over a month into Game 5 of the Finals, and had some kind of move around the day before, I don’t think that’s fair to that man. And you saw the results. It’s just not fair. It’s Game 5 of the world championship. He hasn’t played real basketball in a month. That’s unfair to put him in that situation. And the proof is in the pudding, plain and simple.”
Barkley makes a good point. Regardless of the sport, athletes are always going to want to play. Being out of the action and watching teammates do what they should be doing is never fun, and so they want to play even if they may not be completely healed from an injury. Barkley thinks that’s what happened here.
It’s unclear if Durant had the final word on whether he’d play, or even how much of a case he made to take the court Monday night. If, as Barkley contends, he was “feeling some type of way,” giving him a say in his status was likely not the best idea. Durant certainly had some say in the decision, as Warriors president of basketball operations Bob Myers used the word “collaborative” to describe the process the team went through to clear Durant to play.
Myers said after the game that he doesn’t believe anyone is to blame for Durant’s injury, but if people want someone to blame, they should blame him. Barkley has no problem doing that.
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