Draymond Green is preparing to play without Klay Thompson for the second consecutive season.
Thompson ultimately didn't suit up for the Warriors in 2019-20 as he worked his way back from the torn ACL he sustained in Game 6 of the 2019 NBA Finals. He was set to return this season, prior to tearing his right Achilles tendon last month and undergoing surgery to repair it.
Green's expectations for the Warriors remain high with Thompson set to miss all of this season, but Green is confident in his injured teammate, too.
"I think if there's anybody who can come back from two catastrophic injuries [and] come back strong, either at that same level or better, I think it's him," Green said Monday in a video conference with reporters after participating in his first team practice of training camp.
"He embodies everything it means to be a Warrior," Green continued. "No pun intended, I think we all know how tough Klay is. He's tough as nails."
Green said "it sucked" learning the news of Thompson's injury, and "it sucks to this day" knowing the five-time NBA All-Star would miss a second consecutive season. Nobody lives to play basketball quite like Thompson does, Green said, noting that he often sees Thompson "randomly" working on his dribble or his shot -- sans ball -- whenever he's sitting around.
Thompson's in "high spirits" about his forthcoming rehabilitation process, according to Green. He was able to participate in team workouts this summer prior to tearing his Achilles, so Thompson has an understanding of the hard work that lies ahead of him. Yet even though Green believes Thompson can overcome this recent setback, he couldn't help but lament what his teammate will miss out on this season.
"It's hurtful because I know how much he love and lean on the game of basketball," Green said.
Coach Steve Kerr said last season was a trying one for Thompson, and the star guard didn't spend as much time around the team as Steph Curry, who sustained a broken hand early in the season, as to not remind himself of what he was missing.
Thompson has to go through yet another arduous recovery, and more time spent away from the team. Green's comments prove that journey will be hard on Thompson's teammates, too.