Inside Kevin Durant’s MCL sprain: ‘It feels like you got cut’

An MCL sprain feels like a scar. It feels like you got cut. It’s an immediate sharp pain followed by an extended dull pain. And when the pain goes away after a few days, so does the range of motion. So does the knee functionality. So does the idea of playing basketball.

That’s what really sets you back.

Kevin Durant re-watched his injury on film. It was a bang-bang play at the end of the third quarter of Brooklyn’s Jan. 8 victory over the Miami Heat. He was under the rim, not guarding anyone in particular, when Jimmy Butler beat Seth Curry off the dribble and challenged Nic Claxton at the rim. And when Claxton blocked Butler’s layup attempt, the Heat star came crashing down and landed directly on Durant’s right knee.

He knew it was an MCL sprain immediately.

It was his third time sustaining this specific injury in the last six years, though it’s the first time it happened to the right knee. The first MCL sprain occurred in 2017 when, as a member of the Golden State Warriors, his teammate Zaza Pachulia accidentally fell into his left leg. The second sprain happened last season in a Jan. 15 matchup against the New Orleans Pelicans, when Bruce Brown went tumbling while defending a player in transition and accidentally crashed into Durant’s left knee.

The third, of course, is why he’s currently sidelined. All three plays have a common thread: According to Durant, he was out of position each time.

“I should have just doubled [Butler] instead of emptying out the paint slowly,