Klay Thompson felt he was at the peak of his powers when he tore his ACL last June. Rehabbing from the injury has required a lot of physical work, but it arguably has necessitated even more mentally.
"I've been so used to playing 78-plus games a year,” the Warriors star said in the recently released “Above the Waves,” a short documentary about his rehab. “With playoffs, 100. But you can either, you know, feel sorry for yourself, or you can work even harder. It's not just about getting your hours in the gym or your rehab. The psychological hurdles are probably the biggest things I need to overcome."
Thompson has not played in a game since tearing his ACL in Game 6 of the Warriors’ NBA Finals loss to the Toronto Raptors. Golden State ruled the “Splash Brother” out for the remainder of the season in February, and Warriors coach Steve Kerr told NBC Sports Bay Area’s Logan Murdock back in October that he didn’t expect Thompson to suit up in the 2019-20 season.
Kerr told The Athletic’s Tim Kawakami in March after the NBA suspended its season due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic that Thompson was “crushed” not to play this season, though Thompson had joined his teammates for some drills. Thompson had played no fewer than 66 games in a regular season prior to this year.
"This is an inexact science,” he said of his rehab. “It's not a mathematical equation. It's about being consistent and training the mind to be fearless. That's what this year has given me. It's a recharging."
Thompson said in the documentary that he expects himself -- and the Warriors -- to return to their winning ways next season. Golden State had the NBA’s worst record (15-50) with both Thompson and Steph Curry sidelined for all but a handful of games this season, ending a streak of seven playoff appearances and five trips to the NBA Finals.
Not that Thompson needed any extra motivation.
"I want to get back healthy, 100 percent,” Thompson said. “Because I want to make sure this never happens again."
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