To the surprise of no one, Klay Thompson has been ruled out for a return to the NBA this season. The Warriors sharpshooter tore his ACL during Game 6 of the NBA Finals last June, the game in which the Raptors clinched their first championship.
"Klay was expecting this," Warriors coach Steve Kerr told reporters Thursday (per Anthony Slater of The Athletic). "It's been a very frustrating year for Klay, but I think he's almost out of the woods. He's a couple months away from this season ending and moving towards a summer of preparing for the next season with his teammates. I think that's a much better place for him to be emotionally."
This has been a frustrating season for Golden State. Kevin Durant left in the offseason to team up with Kyrie Irving in Brooklyn. Stephen Curry played four games before being sidelined with a hand injury and hasn't returned, though Kerr said the plan is for Curry to come back once the injury is fully healed. The current Warriors team isn't close to the team that made five consecutive Finals appearances and won three titles. It has the worst record in the league (12-44).
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As hard as it has been for the Warriors on the court, it has been just as hard for Thompson on the sidelines.
"I've really felt bad for him," Kerr said. "Klay loves to play basketball so much. He loves this game and it means so much to him. In some ways he's kind of been lost without it. He's been so anxious to be out there on the floor helping his teammates. He sees all these young guys, he sees our struggles, he wants to be out there, but it's been a long haul."
Steve Kerr said it’s still possible Klay Thompson competes in Olympics. He hasn’t seen Klay sprinting/jumping yet, but he will increasingly do more on the floor, behind the scenes, in upcoming weeks, as season nears an end. pic.twitter.com/DGJhFTzR8b— Anthony Slater (@anthonyVslater) February 21, 2020
The light at the end of the tunnel isn't too far away for Thompson. Kerr said it's possible Thompson could play in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. The hobbled "Splash Brother" has been open about wanting to represent his country again after helping lead Team USA to gold at the 2016 Rio Olympics, especially with Kerr serving as an assistant to Gregg Popovich.
"It's not off the table," Kerr said. "It's still a possibility. We haven't really discussed it. I think the [Olympic] team meets in July, so it's still quite a ways away. But it's really not anything we're discussing at this point. It's still a possibility. . . . Obviously his health is the No. 1 concern, and so we'll kind of cross that bridge when we come to it."