By Steve Keating
PEBBLEBEACH, California (Reuters) – Knowing all too well what it is like to be struck down by injury Tiger Woods spared a thought for Kevin Durant on Tuesday, after watching the Golden State Warriors forward crumple to the floor during a game against the Toronto Raptors.
“It was sad,” said Woods, during his U.S. Open pre-tournament media conference. “As athletes we’ve all been there, to that spot when you just know it, that something just went, and can’t move, can’t do much of anything.
“You can see it on his face. You just know.”
Sidelined by a calf injury since the second round of the post-season, Durant made his long-awaited return to the Golden State lineup on Monday for a must win Game Five of the NBA Finals only to go down suddenly in the opening minutes of the second quarter with a suspected Achilles injury.
The sight of Durant on the floor clutching at his leg brought back all too painful memories for Woods who battled career threatening back issues until undergoing surgery just over two years ago.
“I’ve been there. I’ve had it to my own Achilles,” said Woods. “I’ve had it to my own back.
“I know what it feels like. It’s an awful feeling. And no one can help you.
“That’s the hard part.”
If Durant has suffered an Achilles injury Woods knows what awaits the NBA all-star.
The 15-time major winner injured his left Achilles during the 2011 Masters and missed three months of action. He was diagnosed with a mild Achilles tendon strain the following year.
“If he popped it, then that’s six to nine months of rehabbing,” said Woods. “That’s what people don’t see, is all those long hours that really do suck.
“Why do we do it? Because we’re competitors.
“As athletes our job is to make the human body do something it was never meant to do and to do it efficiently and better than anybody who is doing it at the same time.
“Well, sometimes things go awry. And we saw it last night with Kevin.”