Warriors coach Steve Kerr clarifies comments on Klay Thompson recovery


SAN FRANCISCO -- Hours after an interview aired, during which Steve Kerr declared Warriors guard Klay Thompson was "unlikely" to return this season, the coach clarified his comments Tuesday, blaming the current media landscape for how his explanation was received. 

"My comment was very matter of fact," Kerr said following practice Tuesday afternoon. "ACL [injuries], generally they take nine to 12 months. Nine months takes us right until the end of the season.

"It's really not news, it's more reality. We'll leave the door open and we'll see what happens at the end of the year. But Klay is doing great." 

Kerr's latest comments on Thompson, who tore his ACL in June, came following an exclusive interview with NBC Sports Bay Area that aired Tuesday on NBC Sports' NBA Season Tip-Off Show. In the interview, Kerr called Thompson's return this season "unlikely," citing the team's recovery timeline of nine to 12 months.

Following Tuesday's practice, Kerr blamed the current media landscape for taking his comments out of context.

"I forgot with modern media that 'unlikely' is going to become -- on the ticker -- 'out for the year' and all that stuff," Kerr said. "Probably my mistake for opening my month. Not the first time I've gotten myself in trouble for doing that, but it's an ACL. So if you just do your research on the history of ACLs, he had surgery on July 2. Get a calculator, do the math." 

Following his injury, Thompson said he hoped to play after the NBA All-Star break in February. Entering training camp, both Kerr and Warriors general manager Bob Myers expressed hope Thompson could return this season.

Thompson's injury comes during a unique time for the Warriors. During the NBA playoffs, the team faced scrutiny for how it handled Kevin Durant's calf injury and his subsequent ruptured Achilles. On Tuesday, Kerr was asked if his initial comments on Thompson were an attempt to get ahead of further questioning on the injury. 

"I think in general these days it's more difficult to get out ahead of the messaging on any issue," Kerr said. "And so you have to be careful, and like I said I probably made a mistake yesterday, but we're just handling it as we would handle any injury and he's doing great. Like we said in training camp, we'll have an update at the All-Star break."

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Thompson has been visible around the team in recent weeks. Following Sunday's practice, he stood along the baseline as players wrapped up individual workouts.

On Tuesday, he put up practice shots with guard D'Angelo Russell and rookie Jordan Poole. For a player who has never missed more than nine games in a season, Kerr said Thompson still is adjusting to his new circumstances. 

"Klay's bored more than anything," Kerr said. "He wants to play, he loves basketball so much. So the good thing is he's starting to shoot out here, he's starting to do more things, but we've had internal discussions with several of them in recent weeks and we understand the circumstances."

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