NBA: Warriors’ Thompson says torn ACL 'most tragic part of sports'

Field Level Media/Reuters

Posted at Aug 02 2019 12:07 PM | Updated as of Aug 02 2019 04:59 PM

Golden State Warriors shooting guard Klay Thompson called his torn ACL, suffered in Game 6 of the NBA Finals against the eventual world champion Toronto Raptors in June, "obviously the most tragic part of sports," in an in-depth interview with ESPN on Thursday.

"I knew I did something," Thompson told ESPN's Cari Champion during a promotional event in Los Angeles. "But I've never had the severity of an ACL injury or an injury that bad. So me, personally, I didn't think it was that bad, initially. My adrenaline was so high being Game 6, whatever. I thought I sprained my knee; that's all I thought it was.

"But when I went back to the locker room, it swelled up a lot, didn't feel right. It's just not a good feeling when you feel helpless and the team's out there competing."

He is expected to make a full recovery and return to action during the second half of the 2019-20 season.

"I've heard varying opinions about, especially medically, I don't want to rush it 'cause I want to play until I'm 38, 39, 40 years old," Thompson, 29, said in the interview. "That's my plan, especially because the way I can shoot the ball. I would love to see the floor this season. I don't know when that is."

A few days before he underwent the surgery on his left knee in early July, Thompson agreed to a five-year, $190 million contract to remain with the Warriors.

"The Warriors showed their loyalty and their respect for me, offering me that five-year deal," Thomson said. "Jumped on that as soon as I could, just because the history with this team and the franchise it would be so hard to leave. And the feeling of, you know, unfinished business, getting that close in the Finals, or to the fourth championship -- tasting it -- just being out of reach.

"It's the pain of sports, but it's what keeps me motivated."

Thompson has spent his entire eight-year career with Golden State since being the No. 11 overall pick in the 2011 draft out of Washington State.

He has averaged 20 or more points in each of the past five seasons, including a 21.5 mark in 2018-19. Thompson, a five-time All-Star, has buried more than 200 3-pointers in seven consecutive seasons, as well.

Thompson made 241 3-pointers last season, his third most behind 276 in 2015-16 and 268 in 2016-17. He holds the single-game record of 14, set last season against the Chicago Bulls.

--Field Level Media

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