KEVIN DURANT will never be the same player again as he faces up to a year on the sidelines, according to Doctor Babak Baravarian.
Durant limped out of Golden State Warriors’ NBA Finals victory against Toronto Raptors earlier this week.
The small forward suffered an Achilles injury which required surgery.
He is set to spend between six and 12 months recovering and Baravarian reckons he will lose some of his star quality.
“You can get back to an elite level but normally you’re a half-step slower, maybe slightly less able to jump to the same level you were and you’re a little bit less explosive,” Baravarian told Omnisport.
“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.
“A guy who is number one and a freak of nature and all of a sudden he becomes five percent less […] that can become somewhat significant in the overall game.
“A guy can still be a phenomenal player because he understands the game so well. Kevin Durant’s wingspan is ridiculous, his height is ridiculous for his position.
“I still think he’s going to be able to be an elite player but he may not be at that level that he was.”
Meanwhile, Durant posted a photo of himself in hospital on Instagram.
He captioned it with a motivational message insisting he will be back stronger.
“What’s good everybody I wanted to update you all: I did rupture my Achilles. Surgery was today and it was a success, EASY MONEY,” he wrote.
“My road back starts now! I got my family and my loved ones by my side and we truly appreciate all the messages and support people have sent our way.
“Like I said Monday, I’m hurting deeply, but I’m OK. Basketball is my biggest love and I wanted to be out there that night because that’s what I do. I wanted to help my teammates on our quest for the three peat.
“Its just the way things go in this game and I’m proud that I gave it all I physically could, and I’m proud my brothers got the W.
“It’s going to be a journey but I’m built for this. I’m a hooper.
“I know my brothers can get this Game 6, and I will be cheering with dub nation while they do it.”