Thompson caught a pass with about 6:15 to go in the first quarter of Game 1 of the NBA Finals, but while J.R. Smith attempted to close out, he lost his footing and slid into Thompson’s leg. The result was an awkward twist of the all-star guard’s knee, one that sent him limping straight to the locker room.
Klay Thompson leaves game after JR Smith accidentally slips into his legs pic.twitter.com/pphfrbKWaE— gifdsports (@gifdsports) June 1, 2018
Thompson later returned to action and finished Game 1 with 24 points on 50 percent shooting from both the field (8-of-16) and three (5-of-10). Warriors head coach Steve Kerr gave his two-way wing all the glory for playing through the pain to help Golden State sneak away with a win at home.
“Klay is just a physical specimen,” Kerr said Friday on a conference call, according to The San Jose Mercury-News’ Mark Medina. “It’s just incredible resilience and stamina to play both ends night after night with 40-plus minutes in the playoffs. He’s a machine.”
Thompson admitted after 82 games and three rounds in the playoffs, everyone is sore. But a shot at an NBA championship numbs the pain.
“At this point in the year, everybody is going to be banged up and will play through it,” he said, via The Mercury-News. “You can be sore going into the summer time. That’s how I look at it.
“The stakes on the line right now are huge. So that helps. If this were Game 32 of the regular season, I would not have played [on Thursday]. It’s a long, long grind to get to where we want to be. But since we only need four wins to hoist that trophy, the pain tolerance can go up.”
But on Saturday, two days after getting tangled with Smith, it was reported that Thompson was walking with a limp in front of reporters. Yahoo Sports’ Shams Charania reported that Thompson had significant bruising on Saturday, and was receiving round-the-clock treatment.
Here’s how he limped in to speak with reporters:
Klay Thompson limping in to his availability. Said the pain got worse overnight. If game were today, he said he’s “not sure” if he’d play. On tomorrow: “I’m planning on playing” pic.twitter.com/XO0tulThjs— Anthony Slater (@anthonyVslater) June 2, 2018
“I’m going to do everything I possibly can to play tomorrow,” he told USA Today at the time. “It’s not good.”
“From watching that replay, it pissed me off,” Thompson said. “That’s a tough play on the ball, and then just to tumble into somebody’s legs like that. You’ve got to move past it, but it’s just life, and I’m going to be better from it. It’s just a minor setback. But I don’t think it was intentional.
“He was remorseful, so I don’t think he meant to do it. It just sucks. It’s a part of the game. It just sucks from the timing, during the Finals. But no one’s going to feel sorry for us or me. So I’ve just got to do everything I possibly can these next 24 hours to be right for tomorrow.”
Even though Thompson is going to play, there’s no telling how well his ankle will hold up. They’ll need him with Andre Iguodala out another game.