In one of the most extraordinary press conferences given by a sports team's manager, a choked-up Bob Myers has offered to take the blame for Golden State Warriors guard's Kevin Durant's Achilles injury in Game 5 of the NBA Finals.
Durant returned from a month off with a calf injury to take the court for the Warriors' must win match against the Toronto Raptors, but buckled in the second quarter, and had to be assisted from the court in crazy scenes as some Raptors fans cheered the fact he was injured.
The Warriors went on to win an exciting match, 106-105, staving off a championship loss with the Raptors now 3-2 up in the seven-match series. The thrilling win was a salve of sorts for Durant, who posted on Instagram: "I'm hurting deep in the soul right now I can't lie, but seeing my brothers get this win was like taking a shot of tequila."
But Myers, the franchise's general manager, was more emotional his press conference, looking at sea from the outset.
He announced that Durant had suffered an Achilles injury, but the extent of it would not be known until he had an MRI scan on Wednesday NZT.
He said it had been a "collaborative decision" for Durant to return for Game 5. Golden State's must-win game.
"I don't believe there's anybody to blame but I understand it's this world - and if you have to, you can blame me," Myers said. "Prior to coming back he went through four weeks with our medical team and it was thorough - it was experts - multiple MRIs, multiple doctors and we felt good about the process. He was cleared to play - that was a collaborative decision," he said.
"Kevin Durant loves to play basketball, and the people that questioned whether he wanted to get back to this team were wrong," he said through tears.
"He's one of the most misunderstood people. He's a good teammate, he's a good person. It's not fair."
Warriors coach Steve Kerr spoke about the emotional impact on his players of seeing a teammate go down - as players and ex-players alike, including three-time NBA champion Dwyane Wade, sent well wishes on social media.
"I just told the team I didn't know what to say," Steve Kerr said. "On the one hand, I'm so proud of the amazing heart and grit that they showed [to win with a series on the line] - on the other hand, I'm just devastated for Kevin [Durant]. It's a bizarre feeling that we all have right now ... an incredible win and a horrible loss at the same time."
Splash Brothers' Steph Curry and Klay Thompson, who led the Warriors to the win with a combined 57 points, both touched on the heartbreak - the latter proclaiming "we did it for Kevin".
"You saw what he's capable of ... we dearly miss him out there, I'll tell you that much," Thompson said.
Curry, no stranger to injury himself after missing long stretches of last season, offered up similar love for Durant.
"Obviously prayers to KD, he gave us what he could," Curry said. "He sacrificed his body for us and I just feel bad for him - I have a lot of emotions right now."
- Stuff and Sydney Morning Herald