Steve Kerr hopes Kevin Durant’s recovery inspires Klay Thompson
Klay Thompson is undoubtedly devastated after suffering a season-ending Achilles injury, but Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr believes the superstar can be inspired by former teammate Kevin Durant successfully overcoming the same setback.
All signs point to Durant being close to 100% heading into the upcoming NBA season after missing the entirety of the 2019-20 campaign following surgery for an Achilles injury. The Brooklyn Nets star returned to the court for the first time since Game 5 of the 2019 NBA Finals on Sunday night in an exhibition game and looked great despite being admittedly nervous before tip-off.
While such a return is a long ways off for Thompson, Kerr envisions that seeing Durant return as good as ever during the 2020-21 season following his own challenging rehab can only motivate Thompson in the months ahead as he navigates the initial stages of recovery.
"It will inspire him, I'm sure, to see Kevin back out there healthy again."@SteveKerr on the return of Kevin Durant and what it means for Klay Thompson. @TheFrankIsola | @Scalabrine | #DubNation pic.twitter.com/ZcGPod2xgd— SiriusXM NBA Radio (@SiriusXMNBA) December 15, 2020
“Yeah, for sure. I mean, we want Kevin to get back to the level where he was prior to that injury,” Kerr told Frank Isola and Brian Scalabrine this week on Sirius XM NBA Radio, as transcribed by Clutch Points. “It’s great to just see him healthy and playing again and enjoying the game, and for Klay, it’s just devastating. You know, he loves the game so much and to miss an entire season, to look forward to the next year, which he did all last year and anticipate being back out, and then all of a sudden, going through the exact same thing with another season-ending injury.
“I don’t know, maybe Grant Hill is the only guy that I could think of who had to sit out multiple seasons with injuries, at least players of that caliber. So we are all just feeling really, really sad for Klay, but it will inspire him, I’m sure, to see Kevin back out there healthy again.”
The Warriors were expected to return to the NBA’s upper echelon this season after limping to a league-worst 15-50 regular-season record in 2019-20 amid the injuries and absences of both Thompson and Stephen Curry.
Those best-laid plans were derailed even before training camp opened when Thompson suffered a season-ending Achilles tear while rehabbing after he missed the entire 2019-20 season with an ACL injury.
The Warriors organization are striking a defiant tone about the upcoming season despite Thompson’s absence. The hope is that Curry can lead the Warriors back to the playoffs while Thompson unfairly endures another bout with a grueling rehabilitation program.