Kevin Durant Offseason Thread

radsoxfan

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Grade 2 calf strains happen all the time in the NBA. Typical recovery time is 4-6 weeks; and KD was right at 5 weeks when he returned. They (= KD and the med staff) may have been aggressive with the timeline, and may have assumed a mild risk of re-straining the same calf muscle, but did anyone think there was a real risk of a ruptured Achilles? I know they're in the same area, but is there precedent for a player returning from a strained calf and immediately tearing his Achilles? I dunno, I'd allow a strong possibility that we're dealing with a pretty freak injury that could have happened at any time, including during rehab.
It’s worth noting how overly simplified the idea of a “grade 1” or “grade 2” calf strain is. It works fine for explaining things to the media or in a non-elite athlete setting, but in reality there is way more nuance to it.

With the improvement of MRIs and newer data (mostly done in European soccer players) there is now a lot more sophisticated grading for pro athletes. Lots of grading systems are 0-4, and then subdivided A, B, and C to better predict return to play. Some are more detailed than that.

The location of the tear and the length of the tear are critical, it’s not just mild, moderate, and severe for these guys anymore. That stuff works for your casual weekend warrior (no pun intended), but I’m sure the medical staff had a lot more to go on than that. If the tear was very low, near the Achilles, must have known there was some Achilles risk.

In the end, obviously they pushed things too much and it backfired. Valuable data point for the medical staff for future decision making (I’d love to see all of his mris!!), but devastating for KD.
 

lexrageorge

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The assumption prior to last night was that KD would be a player around which one could build a team starting next season. Obviously, the next season is no longer true. And while KD may very well come back to being a player worthy of the max contract (and even that is an assumption; historical data on Achilles injuries on older athletes is not encouraging), it's very much in question whether he could still be a "build around" type player. It's not a matter of simply shrugging shoulders and playing him at a different position for a couple of years. Not every team is going to be in position to take such a risk.

He may still get the max from a team for the reasons noted in this thread, but it's naive to think the landscape for the coming offseason hasn't changed significantly.
 

Tony C

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I think any team who wants Durant would be nuts not to offer him a full max regardless of this. He's one of the top couple guys in the league and they very rarely become available. Sure, you eat a year and you have greater risk now, but what's the alternative use of that $$$? It's someone less good and unless it is Kawhi it is someone who isn't even in the same tier as a healthy KD. I think it's a no-brainer you eat the year if he is willing to sign with your franchise. Sure it might backfire, but the NBA is a star league---you don't get many shots at a guy like him and so you take the ones you have and hope.
I get that for, say, the Lakers, this is a huge disincentive to offer the max to KD -- they need a partner for LeBron now. But, in a weird way, for a team like the Knicks, is this even so bad? Sign him and tank again -- gives a full year to develop assets/get a better lottery pick, and the following year try to compete. I dunno...an offhand thought.
 

E5 Yaz

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I get that for, say, the Lakers, this is a huge disincentive to offer the max to KD -- they need a partner for LeBron now. But, in a weird way, for a team like the Knicks, is this even so bad? Sign him and tank again -- gives a full year to develop assets/get a better lottery pick, and the following year try to compete. I dunno...an offhand thought.
In theory that makes sense, but we're dealing with a great unknown with an enormous price tag ... how Durant returns as a player. It will take stones and job security to make that choice
 

Soxfan in Fla

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I haven't really been following this whole situation, but isn't it at least possible that KD himself pressured the med staff into clearing him so he could play in an elimination game to try to keep his team's season alive? Isn't one of his hallmarks that he's been largely unselfish and team-first?
At a minimum he seemed to be completely onboard with playing last night. There is a real possibility you’re right. The hindsight BS of he shouldn’t have played is probably coming from the same buffoons who before yesterday were ripping KD for being too slow to return. The “Klay and Looney played through it” crowd.
 

Soxfan in Fla

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I get that for, say, the Lakers, this is a huge disincentive to offer the max to KD -- they need a partner for LeBron now. But, in a weird way, for a team like the Knicks, is this even so bad? Sign him and tank again -- gives a full year to develop assets/get a better lottery pick, and the following year try to compete. I dunno...an offhand thought.
Knicks won’t sign him to tank. He supposedly was going with Kyrie. Kyrie will not be tanking for a season.
 

nighthob

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The assumption prior to last night was that KD would be a player around which one could build a team starting next season. Obviously, the next season is no longer true. And while KD may very well come back to being a player worthy of the max contract (and even that is an assumption; historical data on Achilles injuries on older athletes is not encouraging), it's very much in question whether he could still be a "build around" type player. It's not a matter of simply shrugging shoulders and playing him at a different position for a couple of years. Not every team is going to be in position to take such a risk.

He may still get the max from a team for the reasons noted in this thread, but it's naive to think the landscape for the coming offseason hasn't changed significantly.
Oh it's changed things all right. Just not in the sense that Durant's not going to be fielding a bunch of max offers. The Knicks used to be all in on Durant, but seemed less committed to Durant/Irving (given the Rozier rumors and their pursuit of Davis). Do they still shoot for Davis/Durant knowing that the odds of Davis leaving in the summer of '20 increase?

If anything I think this opens up the field for someone like Brooklyn that won't waffle at all and might be willing to put up with the transitional year to get to the good one. Or if trading for Durant convinces Irving to re-sign in Boston long term then Boston might go for it. So it will definitely change the calculus. But Durant's still getting maxed out.
 

DeJesus Built My Hotrod

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I haven't really been following this whole situation, but isn't it at least possible that KD himself pressured the med staff into clearing him so he could play in an elimination game to try to keep his team's season alive? Isn't one of his hallmarks that he's been largely unselfish and team-first?
You are on to something here. Upthread there are comments that seem to suggest that the Warriors front-office/coaching/medical staff absolutely pressured Durant into playing. I have seen no reports of that anywhere - it appears to be talk-show conjecture. Now today, quite a few pundits are saying they knew that Durant shouldn't play. Hindsight is an amazing thing.

The thing lost here is that Kevin Durant is an NBA veteran who is fully aware of his contract situation. Furthermore, he comes off as someone who, while clearly impacted by criticism, won't easily be pressured into doing something he doesn't want to do. As such, I have a hard time seeing him succumbing to pressure and playing in a game when he didn't feel up to it.

That said, if anyone has a link to a story that suggests the Warriors pressured him to come back and that he did so reluctantly, I would love to see it.
 

Lazy vs Crazy

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I guess the question is really whether GS will give KD the full max as a make good for breaking him, or if he's going to the Knicks. I don't see him missing out on the max for this.
 

nighthob

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At a minimum he seemed to be completely onboard with playing last night. There is a real possibility you’re right. The hindsight BS of he shouldn’t have played is probably coming from the same buffoons who before yesterday were ripping KD for being too slow to return. The “Klay and Looney played through it” crowd.
Were anyone aside from Warrior fans criticizing him? Also, an actual doctor disagrees with your post...

It’s worth noting how overly simplified the idea of a “grade 1” or “grade 2” calf strain is. It works fine for explaining things to the media or in a non-elite athlete setting, but in reality there is way more nuance to it.

With the improvement of MRIs and newer data (mostly done in European soccer players) there is now a lot more sophisticated grading for pro athletes. Lots of grading systems are 0-4, and then subdivided A, B, and C to better predict return to play. Some are more detailed than that.

The location of the tear and the length of the tear are critical, it’s not just mild, moderate, and severe for these guys anymore. That stuff works for your casual weekend warrior (no pun intended), but I’m sure the medical staff had a lot more to go on than that. If the tear was very low, near the Achilles, must have known there was some Achilles risk.

In the end, obviously they pushed things too much and it backfired. Valuable data point for the medical staff for future decision making (I’d love to see all of his mris!!), but devastating for KD.
 

Kenny F'ing Powers

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It’s worth noting how overly simplified the idea of a “grade 1” or “grade 2” calf strain is. It works fine for explaining things to the media or in a non-elite athlete setting, but in reality there is way more nuance to it.

With the improvement of MRIs and newer data (mostly done in European soccer players) there is now a lot more sophisticated grading for pro athletes. Lots of grading systems are 0-4, and then subdivided A, B, and C to better predict return to play. Some are more detailed than that.

The location of the tear and the length of the tear are critical, it’s not just mild, moderate, and severe for these guys anymore. That stuff works for your casual weekend warrior (no pun intended), but I’m sure the medical staff had a lot more to go on than that. If the tear was very low, near the Achilles, must have known there was some Achilles risk.

In the end, obviously they pushed things too much and it backfired. Valuable data point for the medical staff for future decision making (I’d love to see all of his mris!!), but devastating for KD.
This is really useful. Thank you.
 

radsoxfan

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I’d be very surprised if the Warriors overtly pressured him to play.

There is however, a real conflict of interest when it comes to a team medical staff and a player’s best interests. Even without any overt pressure from management, these people are competitive and want to please their bosses. There is often somewhat of an unspoken understanding that docs will take things as close to the edge as they can for the benefit of the team. The position in fact self-selects for that type of doctor, and acting otherwise may not lead to long-term employment with the team. Thats what I’ve seen and heard, both from my own experience and those of others.

Again, these are often gray areas where there is no “correct answer”. You get some people in a room that all have the same goal, are feeling a lot of pressure, and they convince themselves they are being reasonable.

Every athlete should be getting second opinions from people who have no rooting interest aside from their patient’s best interest. But it doesn’t always happen like that.
 
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reggiecleveland

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He's fucking full of shit. He has no idea if the Warriors "pressured him" to play against his will. Given that KD is arguably the most powerful person in the league right now, and was Instagramming out his love to his teammates right after the injury, the reasonable assumption is that they did not.
Maybe, but maybe not. Rautins himself had his career end from a misdiagnosed injury so maybe it is too close to home. He said a guy like KD will always want to play, and it is really hard for an athlete to say no, and needs people around him to stick up for him or even stand up to him. He said before the game he was worried about KD being too hurt to play, and based on practice reports seemed he was not ahead of schedule. He hinted at maybe the Warriors were hiding how healthy he was, but doubted it and expected KD was not ready. He has more information than you or me, and he ended up correct. I am not big Leo Rautins fan, since I know guys that played with him, and disagreed with some of his team Canada decisions, and I find him an insufferable homer. Even last night he basically said the game was over when they went up 6. His usually MO would be to be a total shill and hype the game "KD is back!" or accuse the Warriors of hiding the truth, but he didn't he said based on the amount of practice KD had done it was a terrible idea to play. And he was right.
 

DrewDawg

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If anything I think this opens up the field for someone like Brooklyn that won't waffle at all and might be willing to put up with the transitional year to get to the good one. Or if trading for Durant convinces Irving to re-sign in Boston long term then Boston might go for it. So it will definitely change the calculus. But Durant's still getting maxed out.
FWIW, this is exactly the opposite take than what they had on Sirius XM NBA Radio this morning. They thought that the Knicks were more prone to take the risk now because "what's another bad year?" and everything is always a crapshoot for them anyway. And the Nets were doing it the right way, building a culture and they might not want to sacrifice a year to do that. Because one year can change everything.

As we Celtics fans can attest.
 

nighthob

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FWIW, this is exactly the opposite take than what they had on Sirius XM NBA Radio this morning. They thought that the Knicks were more prone to take the risk now because "what's another bad year?" and everything is always a crapshoot for them anyway. And the Nets were doing it the right way, building a culture and they might not want to sacrifice a year to do that. Because one year can change everything.
While I don't doubt that the Knicks might be fine sucking for another year, I'm pretty sure that Durant wants no part of a rebuilding franchise. The Nets with Irving wouldn't suck, they'd be a playoff team with hopes of a playoff run getting back Durant the year after.
 

ConigliarosPotential

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I wonder if the Hawks might be in play for Durant - they've got cap space to ride through a year without him, he would help attract other FAs in due course to a city not normally in contention for them, veteran leadership for the young core of Trae/Collins/Huerter, Schlenk was with Golden State, etc.
 

cheech13

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I wonder if the Hawks might be in play for Durant - they've got cap space to ride through a year without him, he would help attract other FAs in due course to a city not normally in contention for them, veteran leadership for the young core of Trae/Collins/Huerter, Schlenk was with Golden State, etc.
That doesn't seem particularly likely. He just shredded his Achilles trying to win a championship. Not sure he'd want to go to one of the worst franchises in the league and be a non-factor for the last few seasons of his career. Doesn't seem to be in his DNA.
 

ConigliarosPotential

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That doesn't seem particularly likely. He just shredded his Achilles trying to win a championship. Not sure he'd want to go to one of the worst franchises in the league and be a non-factor for the last few seasons of his career. Doesn't seem to be in his DNA.
One of the worst franchises in the league? I don't think that's being fair to the current regime and the young talent already in place - if Durant were to come to Atlanta, he'd almost certainly be a factor.
 

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I’d be very surprised if the Warriors overtly pressured him to play.

There is however, a real conflict of interest when it comes to a team medical staff and a player’s best interests. Even without any overt pressure from management, these people are competitive and want to please their bosses. There is often somewhat of an unspoken understanding that docs will take things as close to the edge as they can for the benefit of the team. The position in fact self-selects for that type of doctor, and acting otherwise may not lead to long-term employment with the team. Thats what I’ve seen and heard, both from my own experience and those of others.

Again, these are often gray areas where there is no “correct answer”. You get some people in a room that all have the same goal, are feeling a lot of pressure, and they convince themselves they are being reasonable.

Every athlete should be getting second opinions from people who have no rooting interest aside from their patient’s best interest. But it doesn’t always happen like that.
Don’t we sometimes here that some teams use a hospital, like in Boston with MGH? How does that factor in with respect to whom the doctors work for?

It seems like there would be a big difference if the doctors work privately for the team versus the team sends players to the hospital team. How does this work, or is it different with different teams?
 

bakahump

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Terrible for a Guy who went out to try and help his team. But could this work out any better for the Celts? (assuming that the KI/AD is your preferred end result).
 

radsoxfan

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Don’t we sometimes here that some teams use a hospital, like in Boston with MGH? How does that factor in with respect to whom the doctors work for?

It seems like there would be a big difference if the doctors work privately for the team versus the team sends players to the hospital team. How does this work, or is it different with different teams?
Usually a team has a team doctor or group of doctors that’s broadly in charge of the medical staff of the team.

Those doctors may be on staff at a certain hospital, but other non team doctors are also on staff at that hospital of course. So if someone goes to MGH, it may or not be directly under the care of a “team doctor”, though it’s often in conjunction/consultation with the team. It depends who they see and how each team is run.

In general the team docs are ortho but cant be specialists in everything, so they may refer to other docs for specific issues. Or players may go to “world renowned” specialists (I.e. james Andrews) for specific issues or to have surgery.
 

coremiller

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From a basketball, perspective, the Warriors should absolutely offer Durant the max because they have no other way to improve the team. The Warriors are basically totally capped out even before Durant's salary, but they have Durant's bird rights. Their choices aren't sign Durant or sign another quality starting wing, it's sign Durant or nobody.

The one complication is financial: the Warriors are going to have a pretty ridiculous luxury tax bill next year. Durant might cost them close to $100 million next year in salary + luxury tax. Will ownership balk at spending that money on someone who's unlikely to play at all?
 

nighthob

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They wouldn't hesitate a nanosecond. They can and will use the MLE, though, on a F to soften the impact of Durant's departure.
 

cheech13

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From a basketball, perspective, the Warriors should absolutely offer Durant the max because they have no other way to improve the team. The Warriors are basically totally capped out even before Durant's salary, but they have Durant's bird rights. Their choices aren't sign Durant or sign another quality starting wing, it's sign Durant or nobody.

The one complication is financial: the Warriors are going to have a pretty ridiculous luxury tax bill next year. Durant might cost them close to $100 million next year in salary + luxury tax. Will ownership balk at spending that money on someone who's unlikely to play at all?
Yes, luxury tax bill aside bringing back Durant is still their best and cleanest option. However, if they wanted to be super bold they could let Durant walk and then trade Draymond for picks/young players and rebuild on the fly around Curry/Klay.
 

PC Drunken Friar

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Yes, luxury tax bill aside bringing back Durant is still their best and cleanest option. However, if they wanted to be super bold they could let Durant walk and then trade Draymond for picks/young players and rebuild on the fly around Curry/Klay.
Who is willing to give up "rebuilding value" for what possibly is a one year rental? He may put a couple teams over the top...but would GS trade him to Portland/ Milwaukee/Denver? Hell no. And why would anybteam not contending give up value for him?
 

coremiller

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If Durant exercises his player option + it becomes clear he won't play next year, he could become an interesting expiring contract trade chip for teams looking to clear cap space. The Warriors would have to give up on re-signing him, but if they think he's gone anyway it's something they could consider.
 

nighthob

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I mean I know that everyone thinks that it's only right that Golden State pay for the rehab, but I doubt that he's taking less money to rehab.
 

cheech13

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Who is willing to give up "rebuilding value" for what possibly is a one year rental? He may put a couple teams over the top...but would GS trade him to Portland/ Milwaukee/Denver? Hell no. And why would anybteam not contending give up value for him?
Teams don't act rationally when they are desperate for relevancy. Remember in 2016 when Orlando traded Victor Oladipo, Ersan Ilyasova and a top 10 pick for one year of Serge Ibaka? If the Warriors wanted to trade him (and I don't think they would, btw) they'd have no problem finding a good offer. There would be a team out there desperate to make the playoffs or make a culture change that would overpay for him. You don't think a team like Sacramento would throw assets at Golden State to put Draymond next to Hield/Fox/Bagley?
 
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Captaincoop

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Some team will give KD the max contract because so many teams in the NBA are desperate for even a chance at a superstar player like Durant (used to be/maybe could be again).

But if the Celtics were that team I would be absolutely furious. This is not an ACL tear. The guy is looking at a serious uphill battle to be an elite player again.

He's on the wrong side of 30, has a ton of miles on the odometer, and has a frail build for the NBA to begin with. There's so much risk here, with the upside that maybe he can be nearly elite again as a 33-year-old in 2021.

Bad break for him, but hard pass.
 

Captaincoop

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And on the decision to let him play...this conversation is speculative BS of the first order.

You have highly trained athletic trainers and expert physicians making that decision with input from the player, his representatives, and team management. None of us have ANY idea how that all went down, but it's not some 1970's locker room macho decision on the part of either party. Stuff happens.
 

mcpickl

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It’s certainly way more risky to offer KD a full max deal, but at the same time, there aren’t a lot of obvious alternative paths to a potential top-10 talent in the next year for some of the teams that carved out max space with the idea of getting two stars this offseason, at least if we assume Kawhi to LAC is close to a lock and that Davis will only consider NY/LA if he hits FA next year.

For example, Brooklyn could try to sign Kyrie and Butler instead of Kyrie/KD. That team is obviously better in 2019-20 than paying an injured KD but the ceiling is probably below being a championship contender. And, unless you think AD will come to you a year later in FA, KD is probably your best shot at adding a top-10 talent in 2020-21.

NYK’s situation is more interesting, if they think they can put together a package for AD. Kyrie, plus AD, plus one other max guy in the Butler/Harris/Middleton group isn’t exactly the world beater than KI/KD/AD would be, but even surrounding that team with vet min ring chaser types is still a finals contender in an Kawhi-less eastern conference. But, if you either can’t make an AD trade or can’t sign one of the second tier stars, what option is better than grabbing KD and waiting a year?
I agree with this.

Any team that has the space to offer KD a max should offer it to him.

It's really tough to win a championship without a top 10 player on your team. The only time in the last 40 years a team won without a clear top 10 player was for sure the 04 Pistons, and you could make an argument for the 14 Spurs(though maybe Kawhi was already and we didn't know it and Parker was second team all NBA) and the two bad boys Pistons teams depending upon how how feel about Isaih Thomas. The rest since have all definitely had one.

If you can get one, and all it costs you is money, you have to do it even having just suffered a major injury.
 

RedOctober3829

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And on the decision to let him play...this conversation is speculative BS of the first order.

You have highly trained athletic trainers and expert physicians making that decision with input from the player, his representatives, and team management. None of us have ANY idea how that all went down, but it's not some 1970's locker room macho decision on the part of either party. Stuff happens.
Exactly.
 

snowmanny

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As the game started he mentioned several times KD had been pressured into playing. Sftr6he got hurt he was livid. He is as big a homer as any announcer, but he could not believe KD tried to play.
I have no idea what really happened but reading this I was reminded of 2004. I have a Yankee friend who is a surgeon, and before Game 6 of the ALCS he ranted on and on that it was malpractice to let Schilling pitch, his career could be ruined, he was getting bad advice from the team etc etc.
 

maufman

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Yeah, there's no reason he opts in at sub max when there are going to be plenty of max offers around from teams whose medical staffs didn't screw him over.
Depends on whether KD is willing to make a long-term commitment to a franchise. I agree that if he’s willing to sign a 4-year deal (opt-out after year 3), someone will give him the max, but no one’s giving him a shorter max deal when he won’t even play in year 1. So if KD wants flexibility, the play is to opt in and hit the market next summer.
 

radsoxfan

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I would think it has more to do with the doctor of choice than the machine itself, right?
Definitely doctor not MRI related.

Will be interesting if these are the first truly independent docs he’s seen regarding this calf/Achilles issue (I hope that’s not the case).

Might potentially change his perspective on how everything went down, we’ll see.
 

McBride11

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Definitely doctor not MRI related.

Will be interesting if these are the first truly independent docs he’s seen regarding this calf/Achilles issue (I hope that’s not the case).

Might potentially change his perspective on how everything went down, we’ll see.
Did he have an MRI after the initial injury? I cannot recall.
Are the updated grading systems based upon location of injury or on the MRI they can see muscle fiber tear / separation? is there an edema component based upon sequence they factor in?

So if the gastroc is partially torn, lets say closer to the origin at the distal femur, would the concern rather be the muscle would literally rip in half and leave the Achilles intact? The origin sites would tear off the femur?
Does damage to the soleus weigh into the ranking system since the AT is a confluence of all ?
 

DannyDarwinism

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A breakdown of NBA players coming back from Achilles tears by one of SoSH’s own:


So history is certainly not encouraging, but maybe there’s some solace in that Rudy Gay- the guy closest to KD in terms of size, game, and age at injury- just had a solid season for the Spurs at age 33, putting up a better BPM than his career average. But Durant has seen up close just how cooked Boogie looks nearly a year and a half after his tear, so that has to be on his mind.
 

djbayko

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Did he have an MRI after the initial injury? I cannot recall.
Are the updated grading systems based upon location of injury or on the MRI they can see muscle fiber tear / separation? is there an edema component based upon sequence they factor in?

So if the gastroc is partially torn, lets say closer to the origin at the distal femur, would the concern rather be the muscle would literally rip in half and leave the Achilles intact? The origin sites would tear off the femur?
Does damage to the soleus weigh into the ranking system since the AT is a confluence of all ?
If he didn't have an MRI before letting him play, that would have been malpractice.

In his emotional speech last night, GM Bob Myers said he had "multiple" MRIs and doctors.
 

HomeRunBaker

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I think any team who wants Durant would be nuts not to offer him a full max regardless of this. He's one of the top couple guys in the league and they very rarely become available. Sure, you eat a year and you have greater risk now, but what's the alternative use of that $$$? It's someone less good and unless it is Kawhi it is someone who isn't even in the same tier as a healthy KD. I think it's a no-brainer you eat the year if he is willing to sign with your franchise. Sure it might backfire, but the NBA is a star league---you don't get many shots at a guy like him and so you take the ones you have and hope.
If the Warriors don’t offer KD the max after turning up the heat for him to return that entire organization from Kerr to Myers to Lacob can go eat a log of Rocco’s shit!!!
 

radsoxfan

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Did he have an MRI after the initial injury? I cannot recall.
Are the updated grading systems based upon location of injury or on the MRI they can see muscle fiber tear / separation? is there an edema component based upon sequence they factor in?

So if the gastroc is partially torn, lets say closer to the origin at the distal femur, would the concern rather be the muscle would literally rip in half and leave the Achilles intact? The origin sites would tear off the femur?
Does damage to the soleus weigh into the ranking system since the AT is a confluence of all ?
Yeah, multiple, I’d file the malpractice suit for KD if he never got an MRI.

Updated systems involve both the size and location of the tear, larger tears and more tendon involvement (rather than muscle fiber) usually worse. Many of the systems are based on hamstring and quad injuries (lots of soccer and rugby players studied) since those are the most common and larger muscles are easier to accurately categorize.

Each muscle has its own specific anatomical considerations associated as well. Distal calf tears usually often are more tendon than muscle (myotendinous), have worse blood flow, and heal slower. Complete avulsion proximally at the femur is very rare.

Also, as pure speculation, if KD did have a distal calf tear that extended distally into the Achilles that might be more complicated to fix than a traditional Achilles rupture. Most Achilles complete tears are horizontally oriented 4-6 cm from the bony insertion, well beyond the muscle fibers from the calf. His might be more complex, hence lots of specialists to weigh in.


 

HomeRunBaker

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He's fucking full of shit. He has no idea if the Warriors "pressured him" to play against his will. Given that KD is arguably the most powerful person in the league right now, and was Instagramming out his love to his teammates right after the injury, the reasonable assumption is that they did not.
We all have more than an idea. Steph and Klay were on the podium all but assuring us that KD would be back for Game 5 then suddenly the team doctor cleared KD to play with no minutes restriction despite not ever ramping up to a full speed practice. He literally went from 3-on-3 halfcourt, to running up and down the court to the team doctor saying “Yup he’s cleared.”

If that isn’t pressure I don’t know what is. Had Durant sat out after his teammates telling us he’d be ready and the team doctor medically clearing him it would have cast a shadow on his entire career and legacy. That’s the very definition of pressure and yes everyone who was paying attention saw this.

Grade 2 calf strains happen all the time in the NBA. Typical recovery time is 4-6 weeks; and KD was right at 5 weeks when he returned. They (= KD and the med staff) may have been aggressive with the timeline, and may have assumed a mild risk of re-straining the same calf muscle, but did anyone think there was a real risk of a ruptured Achilles? I know they're in the same area, but is there precedent for a player returning from a strained calf and immediately tearing his Achilles? I dunno, I'd allow a strong possibility that we're dealing with a pretty freak injury that could have happened at any time, including during rehab.
Scal actually cited former team doctors when told that rushing back from a calf placed additional stress on the Achilles. I didn’t call the Achilles but know personally that you can’t rush a calf or else it’s going to blow again. Then there is the chance that this was an Achilles injury all along. There was nothing freak about that injury.
 

djbayko

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We all have more than an idea. Steph and Klay were on the podium all but assuring us that KD would be back for Game 5 then suddenly the team doctor cleared KD to play with no minutes restriction despite not ever ramping up to a full speed practice. He literally went from 3-on-3 halfcourt, to running up and down the court to the team doctor saying “Yup he’s cleared.”

If that isn’t pressure I don’t know what is. Had Durant sat out after his teammates telling us he’d be ready and the team doctor medically clearing him it would have cast a shadow on his entire career and legacy. That’s the very definition of pressure and yes everyone who was paying attention saw this.


Scal actually cited former team doctors when told that rushing back from a calf placed additional stress on the Achilles. I didn’t call the Achilles but know personally that you can’t rush a calf or else it’s going to blow again. Then there is the chance that this was an Achilles injury all along. There was nothing freak about that injury.
You might be correct that the organization put pressure on Durant to come back early but I don't think the evidence you're citing is proof of that. I don't think any of us know what happened behind closed doors.

First, I think you're giving the reports of Durant's recovery process far too much credence. When the initial reports came out after KD's first injury implying that he might be back at some point during the WCF, I didn't believe it. Similarly, I took these later reports with a grain of salt as well. There was no value in GS being truthful, and if anything, there was some value in playing games with the competition.

As for Klay and Steph's Game 4 post-game interviews, how do we know the driving forces behind that. For all we know, Durant was the one pushing to get back on the court ASAP to help his teammates, and it was his bullheaded optimism that caused his teammates to feel the way they did.
 

lovegtm

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We all have more than an idea. Steph and Klay were on the podium all but assuring us that KD would be back for Game 5 then suddenly the team doctor cleared KD to play with no minutes restriction despite not ever ramping up to a full speed practice. He literally went from 3-on-3 halfcourt, to running up and down the court to the team doctor saying “Yup he’s cleared.”

If that isn’t pressure I don’t know what is. Had Durant sat out after his teammates telling us he’d be ready and the team doctor medically clearing him it would have cast a shadow on his entire career and legacy. That’s the very definition of pressure and yes everyone who was paying attention saw this.


Scal actually cited former team doctors when told that rushing back from a calf placed additional stress on the Achilles. I didn’t call the Achilles but know personally that you can’t rush a calf or else it’s going to blow again. Then there is the chance that this was an Achilles injury all along. There was nothing freak about that injury.
Yeah, I'm not sure why it's so out of bounds to think there's at least a decent chance his teammates were pressuring him. We saw earlier in the season with his run-in with Draymond that there is/was a LOT of tension on the team regarding his impending free agency. I can easily imagine Klay expressing the thought that "hey dude, I could barely walk and I went out and played, sack up."

We saw the exact same dynamics in San Antonio with Kawhi's injury--his teammates explicitly tried to guilt him into playing when he didn't think he was ready or able, and it built a ton of resentment on all sides.

There are lots of possible explanations for what went down in Game 5, but it's absolutely in bounds to wonder about how internal team dynamics affected the situation, because we've known for awhile there was tension on exactly these lines.
 

chilidawg

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OTOH it's not like he was out there dragging a leg around, which is actually how Kawhi has looked at times earlier. He looked good and was playing well, so maybe he felt good and wanted to play. So much speculation.
 

benhogan

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I'll play devil's advocate here.

GSW executives, Kerr, teammates, the media & even the Raptor players didn't want to see this happen. BUT the majority of their attention isn't focused on KD's ability to return safely.

On the other hand, what stance did Durant's manager, agent, family, friends, inner circle have during the injury, pre-game? At the end of the day, that group would have KD's best interests at heart. Did any of them come out and say season-ending injury over the last month, only to change their tune because they felt pressured?
 

Devizier

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OTOH it's not like he was out there dragging a leg around, which is actually how Kawhi has looked at times earlier. He looked good and was playing well, so maybe he felt good and wanted to play. So much speculation.
Actually on his first possession, where he drained a three, he was definitely limping to his spot.
 

reggiecleveland

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I have no idea what really happened but reading this I was reminded of 2004. I have a Yankee friend who is a surgeon, and before Game 6 of the ALCS he ranted on and on that it was malpractice to let Schilling pitch, his career could be ruined, he was getting bad advice from the team etc etc.
You know Schilling was never as good as 2004 again. There is a good chance he ruined his career pitching that game. As for his legacy, it enhanced it more than another two years as a 20 game winner would have. It is also likley after the initial injury in game 1, the rest of his career would have been the same.

It is an apt comparison though, since KD was playing incredibly well. Had he retired to the bench with no further damage after staking the Warriors to a 15 point lead his performance would have been like Schilling.