On Monday, basketball forward Kevin Durant of the Warriors ruptured his Achilles tendon in his right leg. The injury occured while the Warriors were in the second quarter of Game 5 in the NBA finals. Durant was dribbling when he grabbed his leg in pain and fell to the floor. Durant underwent surgery to repair the tendon two days later, but he’s expected to miss the entire 2019-2020 basketball season. He will likely play again in the fall of 2020 when he is 32 years old. There’s no way of knowing whether he’ll continue to play at the level he plays now. Injuries have altered careers of other players in the past.
The injury has generated discussion about the circumstances preceding the injury. For instance, why did the Warriors’ coaches and medical personnel clear him to play when he was already suffering from another injury.
Before Game 5, Durant was sidelined for a month when he strained his right calf on May 8th during a second-round playoff series with the Rockets. The Achilles tendon connect calf muscles to the heel bone, so the two injuries are related. Dr. David Chao, who is an orthopedic surgeon working for the Chargers, wrote in the San Diego Times that a calf injury can be an Achilles injury. Apparently, Durant may have asked that the team describe the injury in a generic manner, possibly because he can elect to become a free agent on June 30. According to a collective bargaining agreement for NBA players, players have the right to approve the terms and timing of public release of medical information due to injuries.
Return to play is a decision made jointly by the medical staff, team and player. The vote to play has to be unanimous to go forward. On the surface, it seems like Durant assumed a risk of injury when deciding to play in Game 5. However, that thinking may not be correct in this case. There’s no way to know how well the Warriors’ medical staff treated his injury or how well they explained it to the team and Durant. This process may end up in litigation if Durant finds that his medical care was lacking. At this time, Durant hasn’t voiced any dissatisfaction with his treatment publicly, but that doesn’t mean he is satisfied with the health care he got. This type of injury has a long-term recovery period. A personal injury attorney such as The Law Offices of Gerald F. Connor could explore Durant’s options with him to see if he has a valid case.