NBA

Barkley on Durant injury: They should not have put that man out there!

By Sports Desk June 11, 2019

Charles Barkley has slammed the Golden State Warriors' decision to let Kevin Durant play in their 106-105 Game 5 NBA Finals win over the Toronto Raptors.

Golden State's star forward went down with a serious Achilles problem in the second quarter of Monday's contest, with Barkley blaming the team and media for pushing him towards a premature return from injury. 

Barkley referenced several articles questioning Durant's dedication to the Warriors, as some expect him to decline his player option this summer and test the free-agency waters. 

But he added it was ultimately Golden State's decision to clear Durant.

"I blame the Warriors for KD getting hurt and I don't care what they say about it," Barkley said on ESPN's 'Get Up'. 

"They shouldn't have put that man out there. You know how I know it? Because he blew out his Achilles."

Durant had not played since Golden State's Game 5 win over the Houston Rockets in the second round of the playoffs, during which he suffered a calf sprain. 

His Monday appearance marked his first in 32 days and Barkley responded to speculation that the Warriors star might have rushed himself to help his team-mates, who were down 3-1 in the championship series.

"I don't think you can ever leave it up to a player," Barkley said. "Players always want to play. 

"But I think if you ask any rational player - Damon [Jones], Jalen Rose, Jay Williams - to put a guy who hadn't played basketball in over a month into Game 5 of the Finals and have some type of move around the day before, I don't think that's fair to that man.

"You saw the result. It's Game 5 of the world championship. He hasn't played real basketball in over a month. That's unfair to put him in that situation. The proof is in the pudding."

Durant was productive during his time on the court, though. He scored 11 points on 3-of-5 shooting in just 12 minutes before exiting the game, and his MRI on Tuesday should reveal the severity of his injury.

"I don't believe there's anybody to blame, but I understand this world. If you have to, you can blame me," Warriors president of basketball operations Bob Myers told reporters.

Game 6 of the NBA Finals will tip off on Thursday at Oracle Arena, with the Raptors' lead now 3-2.

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