Golden State Warriors star Klay Thompson was ruled out of the entire 2020-2021 season after suffering a torn Achilles tendon, the team said Thursday, in a shattering blow to the five-time All-Star who was bidding to return after a year-long injury absence.
Thompson — who missed all of last season after a knee injury sustained in the 2019 NBA Finals — had limped out of a workout on Wednesday with an injury to his right leg. An MRI scan early Thursday confirmed Thompson’s season-ending torn right Achilles.
News of Thompson’s latest injury had prompted an outpouring of concern across the NBA on Wednesday with players lining up to offer words of support to the 30-year-old.
Thompson was a key part of the Warriors team that dominated the league with five straight runs to the NBA finals and titles in 2015, 2017 and 2018.
Without him, and after team-mate Steph Curry was sidelined four months with a broken hand, the Warriors finished last in the Western Conference in 2020.
Warriors general manager Bob Myers said the franchise had been left in shock about Thompson’s latest injury blow.
Speaking to reporters on Thursday, Myers described the scene when he had learned of the news of Thompson’s injury.
“These are those phone calls when the color drains from your face,” a subdued Myers said.
“I got a message from his agent that said ‘Hey, Klay might have injured himself. Call me.'”
Myers said Thompson’s close friends and team-mates Curry and Draymond Green had been stunned into silence when he called with the news.
‘A lot of silence’
“Sometimes words don’t do it,” Myers said. “It’s not news you want to break on the phone. There was a lot of silence.”
Myers backed Thompson to eventually return from injury, even if by the time he sets foot on a court again it is likely to be more than two years since he played a competitive game.
“Klay will keep playing,” Myers said. “But when it gets disrupted like this for an athlete of his calibre, it hurts. And it hurts us that care about him. I know we’re going to keep moving, but it hurts me and it hurts our organisation.
“Klay has a strength of will but right now it’s a tough day for him.”
Myers said he had found the injury setback hard to bear as he had been witness to the evolution of Thompson’s career ever since he was chosen by the Warriors with the 11th overall pick of the 2011 draft.
“I’ve watched him grow into a man. I’ve watched him win championships, I’ve watched him lose, I’ve watched him hurt himself in the NBA Finals, I’ve watched him rehab. I’m going to watch him rehab again. I’ve watched him break the NBA record for three-pointers in a game,” Myers said. “That’s how you get to know somebody. So yeah, it hurts. It hurts.
“The longer you get to experience life with people the more pain you have.
“Being here since day one when Klay showed up, watching his journey, watching his growth. Nobody deserves this. This is a guy that loves basketball, that bleeds basketball.”