OAKLAND — Golden State's first Western Conference championship since 1975 came at a price.
The Warriors announced Wednesday night that All-Star guard Klay Thompson began experiencing “concussion-like symptoms” following a 104-90 victory over the Rockets in Game 5 of the Western Conference finals.
Thompson took a knee from Trevor Ariza directly to the right side of his head with a little more than nine minutes remaining in the fourth quarter. The injury, which occurred as Thompson pump-faked Ariza into the air, forced him to the locker room.
The Warriors initially announced that Thompson had suffered a right ear laceration and that he had been cleared by doctors to return. However, he never re-entered the game, as his services weren't necessary with Golden State closing out the series-clinching victory without any drama. Thompson finished with 20 points and four assists in 22 minutes.
After the game, the Warriors issued a statement updating Thompson's condition.
“Klay Thompson was evaluated by the Warriors medical staff immediately after suffering an injury during tonight's game and was put through a concussion evaluation,” the Warriors' statement read. “At the time he did not show any concussion-like symptoms. After the game he began to not feel well and developed concussion-like symptoms. He will continue to be evaluated by the team's medical staff tonight.”
The NBA's concussion protocol will require Thompson to receive clearance from an independent doctor before he can play. Golden State will enjoy a week off prior to its Finals series against the Cavaliers, which opens in Oakland on June 4. In theory, Thompson should have sufficient time to pass the requisite tests before Game 1.
“We'll evaluate him [Thursday],” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said during his postgame comments, which were made before the release of the Warriors' updated statement. “He had stitches in his ear. He was definitely shaken up. ... The break [before the Finals] will be good for him. It'll probably be good for all the guys with the run we've been on, but especially for Klay.”
Thompson's father, Lakers legend Mychal Thompson, gave an update on his son's status early Thursday morning.
Thompson, 25, averaged a career-high 21.7 points, 3.2 rebounds and 2.9 assists this season, earning his first All-Star selection. The sharpshooting guard was Golden State's second-leading scorer this season, hitting 43.9% of his three-point attempts.