Warriors worried but hopeful as Klay set for MRIon November 19, 2020 at 5:23 am

Golden State Warriors guard Klay Thompson suffered a right leg injury during a workout on Wednesday in Southern California and will undergo an MRI on Thursday morning, the team’s general manager, Bob Myers, confirmed Wednesday night.

Thompson was playing with several NBA players in Los Angeles and felt pain in the calf area when he landed on his leg, sources told ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne. The Warriors are worried it’s possibly an Achilles tendon injury but are holding out hope it’s not as serious and are determined to wait on the MRI results.

According to Myers, coach Steve Kerr and members of the Warriors’ training staff are expected to fly to Los Angeles to be there for Thompson when he gets his MRI.

“It’s one of those deals where you don’t really know until you know,” Myers said during his media availability following the NBA draft. “You can be hopeful, you can be concerned. I’m probably all those combined, and until we know more tomorrow, I’ll just hope for good news.”

Thompson missed all of last season after tearing the ACL in his left knee during Game 6 of the NBA Finals against the Toronto Raptors. The Warriors were optimistic that Thompson, who has spent more than a year rehabbing the injury, would come back at full strength for the 2020-21 season.

“Klay doesn’t like missing five minutes of anything,” Myers said. “He was probably bummed out he had to leave the pickup game. … I’m glad that our players reached out to him and obviously you’ve seen a lot of NBA players reach out to him and offer their thoughts. We’re just hoping that we hear something good, and until then I’m going to try and keep his spirits up and support him and hear what we hear tomorrow and go from there.”

Kerr said recently that though the Warriors didn’t clear Thompson, 30, to scrimmage during their team bubble in San Francisco, he was pleased with the way Thompson’s rehab was progressing.

“It was great to have him out on the floor, in the locker room,” Kerr said in late September during a video call with reporters. “Just his presence alone gave us a jolt of energy and excitement. Practice went well. This is the first practice coming off an ACL injury and a year-and-a-half absence, so I didn’t expect him to be in top shape, in top form, and he was not, but he moved well, and it’s a good first step.”

Thompson’s latest setback leaves more potential questions for a Warriors group that was confident it could contend next season in what is expected to be a loaded Western Conference race. Notably, Myers acknowledged that he has been given the “green light” by ownership to use the $17.2 million traded-player exception created in last summer’s deal that sent veteran Andre Iguodala to the Memphis Grizzlies.

“We have the green light to do that,” Myers said. “We had it, we have it, Klay [injury] or no Klay [injury], depending on what we hear, so it’s there. We got to find a way to make it work for us. Certainly once we hear more tomorrow, that might affect it, it might not. We’ll see. Certainly it may allow us to be more aggressive, but something has to make sense. Certainly if we feel like we need to add to that position we’ll do our best to do it. We still have free agency. We’ll see.

“We’ll see what news we hear and what positions we need to fill. I think we needed wing depth anyway, and so we’ll look there anyway no matter what.”

The Warriors selected James Wiseman with the No. 2 pick in Wednesday night’s draft. The 7-foot-1 center played just three games for Memphis last season before leaving school amid an eligibility battle with the NCAA. But he worked out for the Warriors and was viewed as being better equipped than other top draft prospects to immediately help Golden State return to the NBA Finals.

Myers said Wiseman was the top player on the Warriors’ draft board and that Thompson’s injury had no impact on the selection the team made.

Wiseman, in his post-draft media availability, admitted that news of Thompson’s injury hit him hard.

“As soon as I seen [the news], it was kind of down for me, like emotionally,” he said. “But the team, we got his back no matter what and he’s going to be in great recovery. And from my perspective, I just can’t wait to go in there and give my great contribution towards the team and just go in there and learn as much as possible.

“Just grow and adapt within that environment and just play my position. But all prayers be to Klay, my teammate, and he’s going to be just fine.”

Prior to the Wiseman pick, there was a sense of shock and disbelief throughout the organization after news of Thompson’s injury swept across the league. Myers acknowledged that the emotional highs and lows of the day were tough for many in the organization to process.

“I guess this business teaches you, you always wait to hear for sure on any of these things,” Myers said. “I’ve been in MRI rooms — Steph [Curry]’s hand last year. I had no idea when we walked in there he’d be out for three or four months. Obviously, dealing with some of the injuries we’ve dealt with in the last couple years, it doesn’t harden you, it doesn’t make it easier. But I don’t know.

“I was hoping that we were through all that and maybe we are — maybe there’s good news coming — but certainly not a normal draft, not a normal day. The draft is stressful as it is, so I will tell you this — there was more stress [Wednesday], hopefully I’ll look back and think about, ‘What was I stressing about?’ But right now I’ll have to wait until tomorrow to hear.”

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