Despite initial plans for Klay Thompson to return this season from a torn ACL, Warriors coach Steve Kerr says it looks "unlikely."
Kerr spoke with NBC Sports Bay Area to discuss Thompson's future after he suffered the injury in Game 6 of the NBA Finals last summer.
"It's unlikely that he's going to play this year," Kerr said. "So we have to understand that."
Kerr later clarified his comment and left the door open to a possible return.
"My comment was very matter of fact," Kerr said. "It's just ACLs, generally, they take 9-12 months. Nine months takes us right to the end of the season. I wasn't announcing anything. He's doing great with his rehab. It's still possible he could play. But I forgot, with modern media, 'unlikely' is going to be on the ticker, 'Out for the year' and all that stuff. Probably my mistake for opening my mouth. Not the first time I've gotten myself in trouble for doing that. But it's an ACL, so if you just do your research with the history of ACLs, he had surgery July 2nd. Get a calculator, do the math."
Thompson, 29, had surgery on his left knee on July 2 and was expected to be out until at least the All-Star Break in February. However, Kerr, who tore his ACL in college at Arizona, addressed the longer timeline most players follow after suffering the injury.
"You have to look at it realistically," he said. "I had an ACL [tear] in college, and I missed a whole season. Generally, an ACL for a basketball player is a full-year recovery, and if it's a full year for Klay, that puts them out for the season.
"We've kind of left the door open in case the rehab goes perfectly and the doctors say he can go. But the reality is, on April 1, that's the nine-month mark. ...April versus nine months post-op for an ACL."
In September, Thompson said he'd made "huge strides" in his recovery but wasn't going to move too quickly.
"The last thing you want to do is rush back, especially for a player like me who wants to play 'til his late 30s," he said.
Last season, Thompson averaged 21.5 points, 3.8 rebounds and 2.4 assists in 78 games for Golden State.
The Warriors face uncertainty this season after undergoing significant changes to their roster this summer. Kevin Durant, who ruptured his Achilles during the NBA Finals, left Golden State to join the Nets in free agency. Durant will miss the entire 2019-20 season with Brooklyn while recovering. With Thompson out for possibly the whole season, the Warriors will have to rely heavily on Steph Curry and D'Angelo Russell.