Kevin Durant is at present sitting out the first few weeks of the NBA season as he recovers from a Jones fracture, but he has today revealed how an injury to a fellow NBA star led to him missing the recent FIBA Basketball World Cup.
Durant left Team USA training camp on the eve of the summer tournament, citing "mental and physical exhaustion" after a year which saw him gain the NBA MVP title.
But now, speaking in a new HBO documentary; "The Offseason: Kevin Durant", the Oklahoma City Thunder star has revealed that it was actually the horrific leg break suffered by Paul George that forced him to take leave from international duty.
"Everything I had to play for Team USA, that injury stripped it away from me."
Reports circulating in the immediate aftermath of Durant's withdrawal from Team USA claimed that the decision was in no way influenced by what happened to George during a intra-team scrimmage but now the Thunder man himself has apparently opened up on just what a big impact the gruesome break had.
"It took everything out of me seeing that," Durant explained via the Washington Post.
"Everything I had to play for Team USA, that injury stripped it away from me...I felt awkward...Once we were playing, it just didn't feel right for some reason."
The injury, which can be seen here, was certainly one that will live long in the memory and with Durant so close to the action it is unsurprising that it had a lasting impact.
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Rough on everyone
It remains to be seen whether Kevin Durant draws any criticism for his honesty here as he had, prior to his USA exit, been expected to lead the team in their bid for gold.
Some may question whether the man who was supposed to be the leader should have, as a professional, walked away from the challenge.
But the injury was a true freak event that left everyone watching in total shock. The player's reactions in the immediate aftermath are enough to show that. And after a truly gruelling season in which he was leaned on more heavily than ever before as the Thunder's main man it is perhaps no surprise that KD was unable to muster up the mental or physical strength after seeing his peer go down with a season ending injury.
Team USA is important for many players but the harsh reality is that the NBA is king and Durant was clearly unwilling to risk himself having realized he was not in the right frame of mind.
What do you think NBA fans? Should KD have sucked it up and rallied around Team USA, or was he right to walk away knowing he wasn't capable of performing following George's injury? Let us know in the comments section below.