NEW ORLEANS -- Justin Moore was still in the hospital last week when Jay Wright told him that Kevin Durant would be calling. Moore had ruptured his Achilles tendon, costing him the chance to play for Villanova in the Final Four and forcing him to prepare for a grueling rehab process.

Durant grew up in the same Maryland county and suffered the same injury in June of 2019. He returned to the court in December of 2020 and wanted to tell Moore that he could, too.

“He called me right away. He facetimed me,” Moore said. “I wasn’t expecting that. I was still a little bit off from the medicine. That, right there, kind of snapped me out of it. It was a great feeling.”

“He was telling me that my career isn’t over. It’s just begun. An injury like this, a torn Achilles, you can come back from it. In previous years, people would think your career is over, but he was letting me know that my career isn’t over. He said I can always hit him up for advice.”

Moore flew to New Orleans on Saturday to join the Wildcats hours before a game that he would’ve played a key role in had his season not ended late in the second half of the Elite Eight win over Houston. He knew right away that the injury was serious.

“I thought the ref had tripped me up,” Moore said. “That’s what it felt like. That right there shows you that it’s the Achilles. Usually, it feels like someone kicked you in the back of the leg or something.

“It was really nerve-wracking and hard for me. We were winning that game and playing great basketball as a team and going into the Final Four. I had no idea that this was going to happen. People saw me crying and stuff. It was a lot of emotions going through. I had to sit back and take it all in. My family was there and my teammates were there to help me. If I didn’t have them by my side, I don’t know where I’d be right now.”

Moore is told that the recovery process should take six to nine months. His foot will remain wrapped for two weeks as he uses a scooter to move around. He’ll then be able to try walking in a splint. In three months, Moore said he’ll be able to start jogging. It’s a long process, Moore said. And he knows who to call if he needs advice.

“Especially since he’s been through it. He’s been through the process,” Moore said. “Any help I can get from anybody, I’m going to use it.”