Klay Thompson sustained a torn ACL in his left knee during Game 6 of The Finals, more heartbreaking injury news for the Golden State Warriors after Kevin Durant ruptured his right Achilles tendon and had surgery.
Klay Thompson injury update: pic.twitter.com/9b7dZfde9U
— Warriors PR (@WarriorsPR) June 14, 2019
Thompson injured the knee late in the third quarter of Golden State’s 114-110 loss to the Raptors on Thursday night as Toronto won Canada’s first NBA title. Durant had surgery a day earlier after he was injured during Game 5, when he returned from more than a month out with a strained right calf.
“It’s just tough in terms of a guy like Klay that left it all out there,” Stephen Curry said after the game. “He was playing amazing tonight. And to see a freak play like that where he lands awkwardly. I don’t know the diagnosis yet, but you think about the person and the guy and how much he loves to play the game and that’s the only thoughts you have. It’s really not about what it means in terms of playing basketball. It’s just I’m more concerned about him as an individual.”
Thompson was injured after being fouled by Toronto’s Danny Green and landing awkwardly on a breakaway dunk attempt with 2:22 left in the third quarter as the Warriors, down 3-2, fought to keep their season alive. He fell and immediately grabbed his left knee, writhing on the court in obvious pain as Golden State’s medical staff raced out to provide attention.
Thompson was helped off the court, then returned briefly to shoot a pair of free throws before limping back off. He was seen jogging in the hallways of Oracle Arena on his way to the Warriors’ dressing room but was eventually ruled out. Thompson was later shown leaving Oracle on crutches. He finished the game with 30 points.
“He might be the toughest guy I’ve ever seen in my life,” center Kevon Looney said. “I know he was in a lot of pain when he went down. I’ve never seen him scream or show emotion like that, so I knew he was hurt. He’s a tough guy and came back and made the free throws.”
The All-Star shooting guard had missed Golden State’s 123-109 loss in Game 3 with a sore left hamstring.
Golden State missed out on a three-peat playing in its fifth straight NBA Finals, having won three of the previous four championships.
Now, Durant and Thompson — who both could become free agents — are in for lengthy recoveries.
“When Klay goes down and is out for the game, it’s just sort of a, ‘You got to be kidding me. Like, this has to stop,”‘ coach Steve Kerr said. “But it’s just the way it’s gone. I don’t know if it’s related to five straight seasons of playing a 100-plus games and just all the wear and tear, but it’s devastating.”
Recovery times vary, but ACL tears typically take roughly six months to rehab, with additional time after that to regain full strength and mobility.
Thompson made both free throw attempts, pushing his point total to 30 on just 12 shot attempts. Even with those foul shots, the Raptors outscored the Warriors 34-25 after he was hurt.
Thompson’s injury came on the heels of a nightmare Game 5 for the Warriors, who won the game but lost Kevin Durant for the remainder of the series and beyond with a torn Achilles tendon. Durant had missed roughly a month before that with a strained calf.
Recovery times vary, but ACL tears typically take roughly six months to rehab, with additional time after that to regain full strength and mobility. Should Durant and Thompson miss all of next season (and they remain in Golden State), the Warriors would be the first team since 1977-78 to have two of its top three scorers miss the following season.
In the 1978-79 season, the Boston Celtics were without John Havlicek (the team’s No. 2 scorer) and Dave Bing (the No. 3 scorer) after they both retired in the summer of 1978.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.