Kevin Durant has missed all of the 2019-20 NBA season recovering from a torn Achilles tendon he suffered during the 2019 NBA Finals. With the NBA on pause amid the coronavirus pandemic, there have been questions if the league had a delayed postseason would there be a chance Durant or other injured stars could return.
On the latest Crossover podcast, SI’s Chris Mannix is joined by Rich Kleiman, co-founder of Thirty Five Ventures and Durant's manager to dissect whether Durant would be available if the NBA season resumed.
(Listen to the latest Crossover podcast here. The following transcript is an excerpt from the interview. It has been edited and condensed for clarity.)
Mannix: I hope Kevin is doing well. One of the first guys in the NBA to test positive for Coronavirus. I hope he's holding up these days.
Kleiman: Yeah, I appreciate that he is. I will tell him that you send your regards. He was fortunate that he was asymptomatic throughout it and is now clear and free of it. But obviously quarantined like the rest of us.
Mannix: So how is he with the Achilles at this point? What's the latest with his physical health?
Kleiman: I mean, he's doing good. He’s exactly where he's supposed to be. It’s been almost a year since the injury. But, you know, he's been able to maintain his rehabilitation during this period, not to the same extent. But, you know, he's continuing to get stronger and keep building and playing. And, you know, things have slowed down tremendously for everyone, just like if he wasn't rehabbing back. But this hasn't thrown him off the path to coming back to play.
Mannix: One of the questions about summer basketball is guys overcoming injuries to play. Has there been any thought of Kevin coming back to play if it was July or August?
Kleiman: I promise you, Kevin and I have not talked about that. And I know it sounds crazy, but my assumption has been that wasn't very realistic. I know when the time will be right to have that conversation but it just hasn't been that time and it just doesn't feel like it's needed.
Mannix: Yeah, I mean that will also be asking a lot to come back into a pressure situation right off the bat with an injury like that. That's a lot to ask from a guy with a bright future.
Kleiman: That's what I mean about unrealistic. It's just, you know, I haven't even thought to ask him because it just seems so unrealistic.