SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — On the eve of the start of the NBA regular season, Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr has cast doubt on whether or not All-Star forward Klay Thompson would return to the line-up this season.
When asked Monday about Thompson’s ACL injury which he suffered during Game 6 of last season’s NBA Finals against Toronto, Kerr told NBC Sports Bay Area it was “unlikely” Thompson would return, despite previous reports indicating the sharp-shooting ‘Splash Brother’ was expected to play at some point this season.
“It’s unlikely that he’s going to play this year. So we have to understand that.”
“You have to look at it realistically. I had an ACL [tear] in college, and I missed a whole season. Generally, an ACL for a basketball player is a full-year recovery, and if it’s a full year for Klay, that puts them out for the season.
“We’ve kind of left the door open in case the rehab goes perfectly and the doctors say he can go. But the reality is, on April 1, that’s the nine-month mark. … April versus nine months post-op for an ACL.”
On Tuesday afternoon, Kerr tried to clarify his statement, telling reporters at the team’s practice that he was just speaking matter-of-factly about the time it takes to return from such an injury, and that he didn’t mean to make any announcement.
“Generally they take nine to 12 months. Nine months takes us right to the end of the [regular] season. So, I wasn’t announcing anything. He’s doing great with his rehab. Still possible that he could play,” said Kerr. “But I forgot with modern media that ‘unlikely’ is going to become, on the ticker, ‘out for the year’ and all that stuff, so, probably my mistake for opening my mouth … It’s an ACL. If you just do your research with this … he had surgery July 2nd, get a calculator, do the math … just being realistic.”
Golden State also took a cautious approach with DeMarcus Cousins last season. After signing him as a free agent, the club sat Cousins until the second half of the regular season to make sure his injured Achilles tendon had fully healed.
In the NBA Finals, the club was highly criticized for possibly returning star forward Kevin Durant to quickly to the line-up after he had injured his calf earlier in the playoffs.
Durant — who signed with the Brooklyn Nets in the off-season — played brilliantly for 12 minutes in Game 5 against the Toronto Raptors before tearing his Achilles tendon.
The NBA regular season begins Tuesday, with the Warriors opening on Thursday night at the new Chase Center in San Francisco.