With under 30 seconds left in the third quarter of Wednesday night’s Kings-Pacers game at Golden 1 Center, Rudy Gay dribbled down the baseline, and went down on the ground with a non-contact injury. He was unable to get back up on his own and had to be carried off by court by teammates and the Sacramento training staff.
And preliminary tests unfortunately indicate the injury is as bad as it looked. The Kings released an update late on Wednesday night saying that “preliminary evaluation by the Kings medical staff” indicates Gay suffered a torn left achilles tendon. He will undergo an MRI today to confirm the injury:
Preliminary evaluation by the Kings medical staff indicates Rudy Gay suffered a torn left Achilles’ tendon in the third quarter of tonight’s game versus Indiana. An MRI scheduled for tomorrow will confirm the diagnosis.
This would be a season-ending injury for Gay. It’s a devastating injury, and the timing particularly sucks for Gay given that he planned to opt out of his contract at the end of the season:
Rudy Gay's torn Achilles will seriously change trade deadline and free agency. He planned to opt-out of $14.2M for 17-18. Complex choice now
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojVerticalNBA) January 19, 2017
Now he would have a long recovery timetable, and it’s uncertain if he’d ever even be the same again once he’s “recovered”. Achilles injuries have unfortunately derailed many careers, and there’s really no way of knowing how Gay will be again until we see him back out on the court. So, Gay may not find a better option out there than to just stay with the Kings on that $14.2 million deal this offseason.
As for what it means for the 2016-17 Kings? Well, they’re 16-25, 1.5 games back of the eighth spot (and with two teams ahead of them). So, their playoff chances probably weren’t very good anyway (and note: this is all to just get in and likely get swept by the Warriors), and now they lose the guy that was their second-leading scorer at 18.7 points per game. Their third-leading scorer is 29-year-old journeyman point guard Darren Collison at 12.8 points per game. And how much more can DeMarcus Cousins really be expected to do? He’s averaging 28.0 points, 10.1 rebounds, and 4.4 assists per game. It’s unreasonable to think he’ll be able to do that much more to make up for the loss of Gay.
So, it really sucks for everyone involved here, but particularly Gay of course. If it’s indeed an achilles injury, hopefully he’s able to make a full recovery and continue being one of the NBA’s better swingmen next season and beyond.