Irving says Durant was rushed back, won’t be rushed again

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Boston Celtics guard Kyrie Irving (11) dribbles against Golden State Warriors forward Kevin Durant (35) in the first quarter, Saturday, Jan. 26, 2019, in Boston. (Elise Amendola/AP)

NEW YORK — Kyrie Irving says Kevin Durant wasn’t ready to play in the NBA Finals. He wants his new teammate to come back to the court this time only when fully healthy.

Irving put up a fiery defence of Durant in Brooklyn on Friday, saying the former Golden State Warriors forward was rushed back to play "to end up selling a product that came before the person, Kevin."

Durant had been recovering from a calf injury earlier in the post-season when he returned for Game 5 of the NBA Finals in Toronto. He lasted just 12 minutes before going down with a ruptured Achilles tendon that required surgery.

Irving adds that Durant "was not ready to play in that environment. We all know that, whether people want to admit it or not."

The Nets have said they expect Durant to miss the season, though Durant says he makes his own decisions.

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