Klay Thompson was supposed to start for the Warriors against the Orlando Magic on Saturday, but got scratched before tipoff with left knee soreness.
Head coach Steve Kerr listed Thompson as one of his expected starters during his pregame press conference, which occurred roughly 90 minutes before the 5:30 game began. Between then and the opening jump, something flared up in Thompson’s knee enough to rule him out.
Kerr revealed postgame that Thompson’s knee began to feel sore during warmups. The team’s training staff ruled Thompson out as a precautionary measure, Kerr said, and the injury isn’t considered a long-term concern.
Thompson left the court right before the game started and returned to the bench after halftime in street clothes.
Donte DiVincenzo started in Thompson’s place, scoring 15 minutes in 35 minutes during the Warriors’ 115-101 loss. Golden State had to adjust not only to Thompson’s sudden absence, but also to re-acclimating Andrew Wiggins and Andre Iguodala to the lineup.
Thompson tore the ACL in his left knee during the 2019 NBA Finals. When nearing a return from knee rehab, he tore his right Achilles, knocking him out for two full seasons.
The 32-year-old shooting guard returned to the Warriors last January and helped Golden State to their fourth NBA title of the era. He averaged 20.4 points per game on 38.5% shooting from 3.
Though he struggled early on, Thompson has played fantastic ball recently. In the past five games before Saturday, he was averaging 33.6 points. He exploded for 54 in a thrilling win over Atlanta last Monday.
In general, the Warriors have been cautious with Thompson’s work load. He still doesn’t play both games of back-to-backs. But he did play a season-high 45 minutes in the double overtime thriller against Atlanta and logged over 35 minutes in each of his three games prior to that.
“I just think you’re talking about a guy who had two major injuries in the last few years,” Kerr said. “Stuff like this happens. You get a little bit older, you’ve suffered some injuries, you’re going to be more susceptible to aches and pains. It’s just something we just have to deal with.”