The sight of Klay Thompson limping off the court Tuesday night was a double blow to the Warriors, who can only hope his sprained right ankle isn’t serious enough to keep him out for an extended period.
After scoring a season-high 39 points, Thompson landed on top of Shaun Livingston’s foot with 54.6 seconds left in the Warriors’ 131-123 win over the Pacers in Indianapolis. The fifth-year guard hobbled off the floor and did not return.
The good news for the Warriors is that X-rays performed immediately afterward were negative. There were no fractures to his ankle.
Thompson was optimistic enough to believe he could return as soon as Friday, when the Warriors face the Celtics in Boston.
"I just came down, either on the floor or on somebody's foot. I just rolled it. I'll be alright. I'm just going to be sore for a couple of days, but I'll be back in no time," Thompson told reporters in Indiana.
Yet the Warriors have two reasons to be displeased with Thompson’s injury. One is that he re-entered the game only because the reserves allowed the Pacers to trim what had been a 28-point lead to open the quarter to 16 with 5:49 left.
Interim coach Luke Walton reinserted Stephen Curry, Draymond Green and Thompson.
After the game, Walton was asked if there is such thing as a bitter win.
"Yeah, Absolutely. It's bitter because Klay sprained his ankle in a game we felt we had control of. And if we get off to a better start in the fourth, then we don't even have to get him back on the court. But it's a freak accident. Sprained ankles happen every game. People are always getting hurt. It's no one fault, but it does hurt to lose Klay, especially when he's been playing so well lately," Walton said.
The other reason is that Thompson is playing his best ball of the season on the current road trip. He is averaging 25.4 points through five games, providing a potent complement to Curry.