NBA Injury Report: Klay Chronicles Injury Rehab In New Documentary
Klay Thompson – Golden State Warriors
In a new documentary called “Above The Waves”, Warriors All-Star shooting guard Klay Thompson will be giving the basketball community an inside look at the daily rigors he went through to recover from the Torn ACL injury he sustained in last year’s NBA Finals. The five-time All-Star has not played a single game this season, and there is no real pressure for him to rush his recovery anyway. An ACL injury usually takes up to a full year to fully recover from, and the 15-50 Warriors don’t have anything serious to compete for this season.
The 30-year old gunner is coming off another stellar performance last season as he normed 21.5 points, 3.8 rebounds, 2.4 assists, 1.1 steals and an outstanding 40% clip from beyond the arc. In the short documentary, Klay expressed his remorse in not being able to help his teammates on the court. However, he also vowed to prove that the great Warriors dynasty is not yet over. (h/t Connor Letourneau of San Francisco Chronicle)
“It just kills me inside when I see these other teams, so many talking heads and some of my peers saying, ‘The dynasty is over, they had a great run.’ I have so much more to give this game, but patience definitely builds character. You don't have to prove anything anymore, you know? You have three championships. Multiple All-Star appearances.
I’ll just be that eager to prove everyone wrong again.”
Arguably one of the most durable players in the league, this is the first time in Thompson’s nine-year career that he has to endure a major injury. The lowest number of regular season games he played in a single year was 66, and that was during his rookie year in the 2011-12 season.
So, this is indeed a new, unfamiliar territory for the star shooting guard. Moreover, the drastic losing that the Warriors are having this year is also new for them, at least in the better part of this decade. Golden State has been to the playoffs since Klay’s sophomore year, and they have won three championships in five straight trips to the Finals.
However, Bay Area fans couldn’t help but wonder if Klay will be ready to suit up again if the NBA decides to resume the season. Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, it will be a couple of months more before the league could potentially hold games. Although there are some teams who are now allowed to invite players for individual workouts on their respective practice facilities, a basketball game between two NBA teams is still far down the road especially if testing kits are still limited.
Kerith Burke of NBC Sports also shot down the idea that the Warriors will push Thompson to don the jersey and sneakers when the season returns. Burke pointed to the fact that there is just no “upside” to a Klay return, especially now that they are not fighting for a playoff spot anymore.
“I don’t think so. An ACL injury takes about nine-to-12 months to heal. It would be even better, from the Warriors’ perspective, if Klay Thompson could get 14 or 15 months. Under normal circumstances, Klay would resume action at training camp,which is in September ... or was, who knows. If the current season resumes, and Klay is technically cleared for contact, he might push to play. But I don’t see the upside. Stick to the plan to hold him out.
This might confuse fans who heard all season about the value to playing Steph Curry after his injury, to get him time with teammates. But a broken hand (approx 3- to-4 months recovery) is different than an ACL (up to a year recovery). Their roles on the team are different as well.”
Of course, there is also the argument that coming back will allow Klay to adjust to the speed and grind that only a real competitive game can offer. But the Dubs only have 16 games remaining on their schedule, and it is also likely that the NBA will condense the schedule and scratch off a few nights on the calendar.
Thompson could benefit more with an extended recovery schedule, and just come back when the league holds its official training camp for next season. With how things are going right now, we also expect the camp to be pushed back instead of its usual September date.
As for the Warriors, they should return to their elite form next season. The Splash Brothers are back, and they have two intriguing young guns in Andrew Wiggins and a potential Top 3 pick in this year’s draft. Former Defensive Player of the Year Draymond Green is also fresh off a lessened workload as he again anchors the team’s plight on both ends of the floor.
Zion Williamson – New Orleans Pelicans
The Pelicans’ uber-athletic rookie recruit may have to go through another minutes restriction program when the season resumes. During a conference call with the media last week, New Orleans head coach Alvin Gentry said that he expects Zion to be under minutes restriction so as to fully-condition his body and not re-aggravate any injuries. (h/t Kurt Helin of NBC Sports)
“Obviously, his health will be the number one priority, but the restriction was really off after his first five/six games. So, he was playing the minutes that he would normally play, considering with any situation really. But, it will be something that we talk about when we do resume and as far as how it looks for Zion from a minute standpoint, and we’ll do that really with some of the other players.
This is unprecedented, really. You play in a basketball game, you play 60 games and then all of a sudden the season ends, and then now it’s going to start back up. So, this is going to be something that is different for every single player that has ever played in the NBA or is playing in the NBA now.”
After missing the first 45 games of the season due to a knee injury, Zion helped the Pelicans to rack up more wins and stay in contention for the last playoff spot in the Western Conference. They are still chasing Zion’s fellow rookie wonder Ja Morant and the 8th-seeded Memphis Grizzlies, but there is no doubt that this young Pelicans squad is becoming more and more dangerous as they continue to progress.
As for the top overall pick in last year’s draft, his conditioning and health will be vital in his success as an individual and as a teammate. It is no secret that Zion does so much on the court, and he is putting up efficient numbers on a nightly basis. The 6-foot-6 power forward is averaging all-around numbers of 23.6 points, 6.8 rebounds and 2.2 assists for the Pelicans this season.