Warriors' Thompson diagnosed with concussion, no timetable for return
This is not how the Golden State Warriors wanted to start their week of NBA Finals preparation.
After days of speculation, the team confirmed Friday that All-Star shooting guard Klay Thompson has been diagnosed with a concussion.
The team cited "extensive examinations" undergone over the two days since he suffered what was originally deemed a head contusion. He'll now be evaluated daily, with his return being dictated by the league's concussion protocol.
Thompson was hurt when Trevor Ariza did his best Shinsuke Nakamura impression, delivering a knee to the head during the fourth quarter of Wednesday's West-clinching Game 5 win over the Houston Rockets
Thompson left briefly with a bloody ear but was cleared to return to the game. After returning to the bench, he once again had to head to the locker room, requiring stitches for what the team called a right ear laceration.
Following the game, Tompson inadvertently raised concern in a postgame interview with ESPN's Doris Burke, whom he told he felt dizzy.
It was later revealed Thompson developed concussion-like symptoms following the game. Thompson's father, former NBA star Mychal Thompson, said Klay felt woozy on the drive home, adding that he felt better after vomiting. But his agent, Bill Duffy, reiterated Thursday that Thompson was not concussed.
"(I'm) glad we got the full battery of tests," Duffy said in a text message to USA TODAY Sports on Friday.
At the time, given a diagnosis of concussion-like symptoms but not a full-blown concussion, the expectation was that Thompson would be rested and held out of activities through Sunday. While it's too early to speculate about the sharpshooter's status for next Thursday's Game 1 of the finals, it certainly seems like Sunday would now be an incredibly optimistic target.
Concussions are notoriously difficult to put a time frame on. Toronto Raptors forward Landry Fields, for example, was cleared by initial concussion tests after taking a scary fall on his head on Dec. 19. He would later be diagnosed with a concussion, ultimately missing five games over nearly two weeks of recovery time.
Now that he's been diagnosed with a concussion, Thompson will be held out of activity until he's symptom-free at rest and a neurological exam matches his baseline score. The return-to-participation protocol requires increasing levels of exertion, with the player needing to remain symptom-free to move on to the next stage. Team doctors must also discuss the final return-to-participation decision with Dr. Jeffrey Kutcher, the Director of the NBA's Concussion Program.
Thompson, who signed a $70-million extension in October, has enjoyed a career year for the league-leading Warriors, averaging 21.3 points between the regular season and playoffs while shooting better than 43 percent from 3-point territory.
The two-way guard - and the other half of the Splash Brothers - became a first-time All-Star in February and was named to the All-NBA Third Team last week.
If Thompson is forced to miss time or is limited in any way come Thursday, Shaun Livingston and Leandro Barbosa could see additional time, as could small forwards Andre Iguodala and Harrison Barnes. Even at the juncture of the NBA Finals, the concern should be his long-term well-being rather than any impact he can have early in the series.