Shooting guard Klay Thompson fractured his right thumb on Sunday, creating yet another injury concern for the Golden State Warriors as the defending champions fight for the top seed in the Western Conference.
Thompson hurt his thumb during the second quarter of a loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves. While he continued to play with the injury for the remainder of the game, the team decided to sit him out for Wednesday’s game against the Los Angeles Lakers.
Re-Evaluated Next Week
The San Francisco Chronicle cited sources that said Thompson will be out at least a week, with team doctors slated to re-evaluate the thumb on March 22. That would force him to miss at least three games.
However, there are plenty of suggestions that his absence could extend beyond that date. ESPN cited league sources that suggested Thompson would miss up to two weeks, which could cost him seven games or more. That opinion appeared to be backed up by Warriors head coach Steve Kerr.
“We’re probably looking at a couple weeks,” Kerr said. “The guy’s a machine, but even without the thumb, we were considering giving him a game or two off down the stretch because he’s looked a little bit more spent recently.”
Injuries Piling Up
In one sense, Golden State can afford to rest Thompson without worrying much about the consequences. The Warriors would easily make the playoffs even if they lost their final 14 games of the season, and the most important thing for them right now is to be healthy for a run at another NBA championship.
But there are some areas of concern for the defending champs. The Houston Rockets are now 1.5 games ahead of the Warriors for the top seed in the Western Conference. If Golden State isn’t able to overtake the Rockets, then Houston would have home court advantage for a likely meeting in the Western Conference Finals.
There’s also the fact that Thompson isn’t the only injured All-Star on the Golden State roster. Two-time NBA MVP Stephen Curry is still trying to recover from a right ankle sprain. He’s scheduled to be re-evaluated on Tuesday, which means he’ll miss at least three more games himself. That leaves the Warriors without their starting backcourt for the time being.
That’s not even the end of the injury issues. Draymond Green is sitting out for now with a sore shoulder, meaning the Warriors are down three All-Star starters. Other contributors like Andre Iguodala, David West, and Nick Young have also been banged up in recent days.
While Golden State is happy to let their stars rest up for the playoffs, bettors are feeling a little uncertain about what this means for the team. While the Warriors are still an overwhelming favorite to win the NBA Championship, their odds have been lengthening at most online sportsbooks. That includes William Hill, which now has the Warriors at 4/6 to win the title, while Houston has started to close in at 10/3 odds.
Those numbers might shift again if all of the Golden State injuries are as minor as the team suggests. But for now, Kerr prefers to see the rash of injuries as an opportunity for other players to step up and show what they can do.
“These games are fun when guys who don’t ordinarily get to play much, when they get a chance and really contribute,” Kerr said. “It strengthens the team.”