Doctor Slams Narrative About Surgery for Warriors Star Kevin Durant

Doctor Slams Narrative About Surgery for Warriors Star Kevin Durant
Kevin Durant #35 of the Golden State Warriors is assisted off the court after sustaining an injury in the first half against the Toronto Raptors during Game Five of the 2019 NBA Finals at Scotiabank Arena in Toronto, Canada on June 10, 2019. (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images)

A doctor slammed the narrative about Golden State Warriors star spurning team doctors for a doctor based in New York.

“I knew he was coming [to New York],” New Jersey surgeon Andrew Brief told the New York Post.

The surgeon has known Dr. Martin O’Malley for more than a decade; O’Malley operated on Durant on June 12.

“I mean, O’Malley operated on him before,” Brief added, referring to a 2015 foot surgery. “He’s a repeat customer. That was the way it was going to go the moment it happened.”

kevin durant injury update
Kevin Durant #35 of the Golden State Warriors reacts after sustaining an injury during the second quarter against the Toronto Raptors during Game Five of the NBA Finals at Scotiabank Arena in Toronto, Canada on June 10, 2019. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

One storyline alleged Durant might not trust the Warriors medical staff after he was cleared to play in Game 5 of the NBA Finals but suffered an Achilles injury in the second quarter. O’Malley, being the team physician for the Brooklyn Nets, considered one of the possible landing spots for Durant this summer if he opts out of his contract, according to the narrative.

Brief said that O’Malley’s renown was a factor, in addition to his history with Durant. O’Malley has been praised for past surgeries, including one on fellow NBA star Brook Lopez.

ESPN reporter Adrian Wojnarowski said essentially the same thing during a radio appearance Wednesday, reported NBC. “Dr. O’Malley is at the very top of that profession,” Wojnarowski said.

“[Durant] has been a patient of him before. He’s worked closely with him through different foot injuries, lower leg injuries in the past. He’s continued a professional relationship with Durant through the last few years.”

Brief also told the Post that the Warriors staff probably made the right call. “This was a matter of bad luck more than bad judgement,” Brief said.

Other doctors have also weighed in what happened with Durant.

NTD Photo
Kevin Durant #35 of the Golden State Warriors is assisted off the court after sustaining an injury in the first half against the Toronto Raptors during Game Five of the 2019 NBA Finals at Scotiabank Arena in Toronto, Canada on June 10, 2019. (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images)

Dr. Babak Baravarian, a foot and ankle specialist in California, said that the Warriors seemed to bring Durant back too soon.

“What happens is he has an inflammatory process from his initial injury and he also doesn’t have a good firing calf muscle because of the previous injury, so the soleus is maybe hyperextended or overworked and it causes the extra strain that cause the Achilles to tear,” he said, reported Sporting News. “I don’t know who brought him back but I think it was way too early. When you’re dealing with a player the caliber of Kevin Durant, with the longevity of his career being at stake, and the fact you’re possibly going to cause an MVP-level player to not be able to play, this is a disaster.”

A ruptured Achilles is one of the most serious injuries possible in professional basketball and has killed the careers of multiple players.

Baravarian said that Durant could return to an elite level but he will likely lose a half-step and possible be less explosive.

“When you’re talking about an athlete at the peak level as Kevin Durant is, that half-step, that inch less jump, can be a difference in whether you’re elite level or just a good level,” he said.

Dr. David Chao, a sports surgeon who used to work for the San Diego Chargers, said that some major questions remain about what exactly happened but noted that the player shares some responsibility. He said it was “risky,” not “irresponsible” for Durant to play so soon after his calf injury.

“No one from the outside (including me) can know for sure, but the evidence strongly points to the original injury and the new one to be related,” he wrote for the San Diego Union-Tribune.

“On a simplistic level, if your car breaks down and you take it to the mechanic to have the carburetor fixed, and then on your first big road trip your car has trouble again, the chances are good that it is related to the original issue.”

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