The NBA world skipped a collective breath last when word got out that Klay Thompson would miss a second consecutive season with a new Achilles tendon injury.
That, obviously, included his long-time teammate, friend and “Splash Brother,” Steph Curry.
“He’s the best 2-guard in the league,” Curry said in an interview with Marc Spears of The Undefeated. “To get that call was a gut punch for sure. A lot of tears. You don’t really know what to say because a guy like that is having to go through two pretty serious rehabs now. But at the end of the day, we have to have his back. We hope that he is around and a part of what we do through his rehab and staying connected with us.”
Thompson, 30, missed the entire 2019-20 season after tearing his ACL in Game 6 of the 2019 NBA Finals. He had recovered from that injury and was set to return to the Warriors lineup this season, but tore an Achilles tendon during a workout on Nov. 18. He’s expected to make a full recovery for the 2021-22 season, but will have been off the court for more than two years by that point.
“You feel for a guy who has worked so hard to get back on the court two-three weeks out of [training camp] and something like that happens,” Curry, who was limited to only five games himself last season with a hand injury, said. “You need to have a big-picture mentality when something like this happens. It’s easier said than done going through a lot of rehab, but there is a lot of time left in his career. We’re going to be there through it all.”
After five straight appearances in the NBA Finals, including three wins, the Warriors bottomed out last season after the injuries to Thompson and Curry as well as the departure of Kevin Durant. This off-season, the club has made some changes to the roster, the biggest being the selection of centre James Wiseman second overall in last week’s NBA Draft. Wiseman, along with recently acquired veterans Kelly Oubre, Brad Wanamaker and Kent Bazemore, should give the Warriors some more depth as they look to rebound in 2020-21.
It will be more than seven months between the Warriors’ last game and their next one once the season gets underway in late December, but Curry is optimistic this campaign will see his team improve their play on the court.
“It’s going to hard at first, for sure. We’ve been waiting seven months to get back out there,” Curry said. “Not seeing [Thompson] on the court, at first, is going to be weird. But I think we’ve done a really good job in the offseason with James and our draft picks and in the free agency pool to put together a really solid roster. We’re going to have to learn a lot really quickly, and we will need a full commitment from everybody.”