ALAMEDA -- Raiders head coach Jon Gruden has been glued to his television along with the rest of the Bay Area watching the Warriors try to overcome difficult circumstances and win a third straight NBA championship.
He shared in the triumph of Golden State's dramatic Game 5 victory over the Raptors to push the NBA Finals back to Oracle Arena, and the heartbreak seeing Kevin Durant return from injury only to succumb to another far worse in severity.
Gruden mentioned the Warriors' best-of-seven series unprompted in opening his Tuesday press session during Raiders minicamp.
“Send my best to the Golden State Warriors,” Gruden said. “What they did last night and what they’ve done with all the adversity and the injuries, it has been a blast to watch.”
Durant’s injury tempered Gruden’s excitement, as it did for all Warriors fans watching the do-or-die contest won over the host Raptors in Toronto.
“It’s terrible what happened to Durant last night,” Gruden said. “It’s a credit to him, though, for giving his all and laying it on the line. I can’t compliment him enough and wish him the very best.”
Gruden and most Raiders to take the podium Tuesday were asked about the delicate decisions of playing athletes recovering from injury, especially in important games. That happens a ton in NFL football, a violent sport where aggravations and further injury happens frequently despite best efforts to return players to permanent health.
"That’s what your training staff is for,” Gruden said. “We have a great training staff and a great strength [and conditioning] staff. Obviously, the player’s input is big in this. We try to right by the player whenever possible.
“…There are a lot of bad things that happen in sports, but we try to use the expertise we have to make the best decision possible with the player in mind."