Kevin Durant should disregard critics during Achilles rupture rehab, Hall of Famer says
Basketball Hall of Famer Dominique Wilkins knows what Kevin Durant is going through.
Wilkins, known as the Human Highlight Reel during his NBA career, suffered a ruptured Achilles — like Durant did — during the 1991-92 season while with the Atlanta Hawks. Durant suffered the injury during the NBA Finals playing with the Golden State Warriors and is still nursing the injury while with the Brooklyn Nets.
Wilkins came back nine months after suffering the injury. The former NBA star offered advice to Durant as the Nets star continues his rehab process.
“Don’t listen to people telling you what you can or can’t do,” Wilkins told Yahoo Sports on Sunday. “Because no one knows your heart better than you do.”
Wilkins said he heard the same negative things that Durant has been hearing as he watches Nets games this year instead of being a part of the team on the court.
“I heard all those negative things. And I used it as fuel to prove [my critics] wrong,” Wilkins said. “So that’s what he has to do. Because you’re going to have your doubters. You’re going to have your naysayers. You’re going to have all these people that have an opinion of what you’re going to be like when you come back.
“They’re going to be quick to say, ‘Well, the guy can shoot the ball and he’s talented, but what about the explosion?’ You get people saying stuff like that. So again, it comes down to, ‘How do you prove people wrong?’ You go out there, believe in yourself and work hard to get back to that star level. And I think everything else will take care of itself. One thing in his favor is that he loves to play. And anybody that loves the game is going to do whatever’s necessary to get back to that star level.”
Wilkins said a key to his return to the court just nine months after suffering the injury was rehabbing twice a day. He said he also had to clear a mental block.
“I got hit and I hit the ground really hard. And the first thing I did was I grabbed my Achilles,” Wilkins said. “And I’m like, ‘I’m not in any pain.’ And I said, ‘If this thing is going to go again, it’s going to be on my terms. I’m going to go all out.’ I had to get over the doubts, the fear.”
Wilkins returned to the court in November 1992 after suffering a ruptured Achilles in January 1992. He played in 71 games between the Hawks and averaged 29.9 points per game.
It’s unclear when Durant will be able to return to the Nets. Brooklyn has stressed that they were not going to rush the star’s rehab process.