On Feb. 28, Kevin Durant thought he was done for the season.
And as ESPN's Jackie MacMullan revealed on Thursday, Warriors players and coaches thought the same thing.
An excerpt from the article:
Back in the Warriors' locker room, the injury was already casting a pall. The coaches, in touch with Kleiman by phone, had purposely refrained from telling the players what they'd heard.
But Green, texting with Durant, was under no such restrictions. He was already quietly spreading the word from locker to locker. KD was done. Says Green: "We were all in a state of shock."
So the Warriors watched Durant get hurt less than a minute into their game against the Wizards, lost the game in the final seconds, and then were told Durant was lost for the year.
Fast forward three months later and they are hosting Game 1 of the NBA Finals on Thursday night for the third straight season.
Back in late March, Durant disclosed that the original diagnosis was a fractured tibia.
When he received the news, he "just bust out crying."
Now, he is back in the Finals for the first time since 2012.
"This year has taught me a lot," Durant recently told NBC Sports Bay Area's Monte Poole. "Just because I can say I'm so ready, that I can't wait to go out there and play my ass off. I'm going to play hard as hell.
"But it's not like I come in here and I'm not focused on shootaround or 5-on-0 or pre-practice shootaround. I'm telling myself I can't wait to go out there and play. I can't wait. And you can have all that built up in your head.
"But you've still got to prepare the right way and stick to your routine. I rely on that, rather than showing my emotions about me being in The Finals. I know where I am. I'm just trying to rely on the hard work and preparation instead of just blowing smoke up my own ass."
Drew Shiller is the co-host of Warriors Outsiders and a Web Producer at NBC Sports Bay Area. Follow him on Twitter @DrewShiller