Turner sports broadcaster Charles Barkley said the Golden State Warriors are to blame for Kevin Durant's Achilles injury Monday night, and that the NBA team is at fault for letting speculation and criticism build during the Finals, while also not taking the decision out of Durant's hands.
"I blame the Warriors for KD getting hurt and I don't care what they say about it," Barkley said Tuesday morning in an interview on ESPN's "Get Up!"
Durant returned for the first time in a month in the Warriors' Game 5 win over the Toronto Raptors to keep their three-peat title hopes alive. But Durant's impactful return — 11 points in 12 minutes — was short-lived as the superstar suffered a devastating injury and was helped off the court.
Barkley felt as though it was the Warriors' responsibility to control the narrative and by not doing so, it made Durant feel even more emotionally accountable once the Warriors fell behind 3-1 in Finals.
Charles Barkley reacts in the second half in the semifinals of the 2019 men's Final Four between the Virginia Cavaliers and Auburn Tigers at US Bank Stadium. (Photo: Shanna Lockwood, USA TODAY Sports)
"Yes there is somebody to blame — the Golden State Warriors for putting KD out there," Barkley said. "Listen, that was not right.
"If you go back and look at the last two weeks, the article comes out (saying), 'KD's worst nightmare: the Warriors winning without him.' Then you come out and read another article (saying), 'the Warriors are really not happy KD won't risk his Achilles, they're frustrated with KD.' Now this man has to be feeling some type of way. …They shouldn't have put that man out there."
Barkley said the Warriors should have shut the door on the idea of Durant returning long before the Finals even began.
"I don't think you can ever leave it up to a player," Barkley said. "Players always want to play. I think if you ask any rational (former) player, to put a guy who hasn't played basketball in over a month into Game 5 of the Finals, and have some type of movement around the day before, I don't think that's fair to (Durant). You saw the result. It's Game 5 of 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."
"I blame the Warriors for KD getting hurt and I don't care what they say about it."
Charles Barkley brought the heat, saying the Warriors shouldn't have played Kevin Durant in Game 5 pic.twitter.com/uyTgg2qsCS
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