Warriors All-Star G Klay Thompson cleared to play in finals
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Golden State Warriors guard Klay Thompson has been cleared to return after his concussion and play in the NBA Finals.
The Warriors announced after practice on Tuesday that Thompson completed the NBA’s concussion protocol and will be ready to play Game 1 on Thursday night against Cleveland.
“I feel great, honestly,” Thompson said before the announcement was made. “These past two days, I feel like I’ve got my wind back. Tomorrow is the final tuneup. Just trying to stop the nerves and anxiousness, or keep them down as much as possible.”
The All-Star shooting guard was concussed in the fourth quarter of Golden State’s clinching victory in the Western Conference finals against Houston on May 27. Team doctors initially cleared Thompson to return to the game after he was kneed in the head. He ended up not playing, and the team said he started developing symptoms after the game.
Thompson was diagnosed with the concussion last Friday and missed two days of practice. He returned to the court on Monday and has been symptom free.
“I was confident yesterday,” Thompson said. “Today was just the icing on the cake.”
NBA union chief Michele Roberts said she was “mortified” that Thompson had been cleared despite later being diagnosed with a concussion.
Thompson said he understands the difficulty of diagnosing concussions and felt fortunate that he ended up not playing after the injury.
“It’s tough because my adrenaline was high,” he said. “I felt alert, I felt focused. They ultimately made a great call not putting me back in.”
The Warriors are also hoping to have backup forward Marreese Speights back for the first time since he injured his calf in Game 3 of the second round against Memphis. Speights practiced for a second straight day Tuesday and is on track to play in the finals.
Despite playing mostly as a reserve, Speights was Golden State’s fourth-leading scorer in the regular season with 10.4 points per game and he gives coach Steve Kerr another option off the bench.
“He’s good to go,” Kerr said. “He’s had two good practices in a row. He will more than likely play. It’s just a question of how the rotation unfolds and the matchups.”