Draymond Green wasn’t going to let an injury keep him from sharing the pitch with Klay Thompson.
On Sunday night, Thompson returned to the Warriors’ roster for the first time in 941 days. The 31-year-old sniper missed back-to-back seasons after sustaining ACL and Achilles injuries, and he missed the first 38 games of Golden State’s 2021-22 campaign as he recovered. form.
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The game between the Warriors and the Cavaliers was set to bring together Green’s Bay Area “Big Three” Thompson and Stephen Curry, but an unfortunate injury marred the long-awaited reunion. Golden State announced shortly before the announcement Green had known “Left calf tightening” during the pre-game warm-ups, and it looked like he would be forced to sit down.
But Thompson’s moment was too important for Green to miss. He decided to speak for the opening point, then immediately commit a fault in order to be substituted. Warriors coach Steve Kerr told reporters after the game he explained the plan to Cavs coach JB Bickerstaff, and Cleveland agreed to let the opening streak go that way.
Draymond Green isn’t playing tonight (left calf crunch), but he still wanted to be on the floor with Klay for his comeback.
So Green was there for the first shot and made a foul so he could check the game ❤️ pic.twitter.com/puAzOy3rxe
– ESPN (@espn) January 10, 2022
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“[It meant] so many, ” Thompson said when asked about Green’s gesture. “I mean, can’t wait to play with Dray again. He makes my life easier when it comes to hunting and defense. We’ve been on top of the mountain together. We’ve been through some crazy battles. I love Draymond’s competitiveness, and it was just good to have the almost complete team again.
“I have such a history with Steph and Dray that it was really cool to sit down with those two before the game and soak up everything.”
Thompson finished with 17 points on 7 of 18 shots in the Warriors’ 96-82 win over the Cavs, but he wasn’t too concerned with his numbers. He was just happy to “even look at the stats sheet and see my name on it.”
“I’m so grateful to just compete again,” said Thompson. “It’s been a long road. I’m just so proud of myself for persevering. It was a very special moment. [that] I’ll never forget. It was, I’m not going to say equivalent to winning a championship, but man, that was pretty close. … Just so that I could go out there and shoot the ball, play defense and compete, I mean, man, that was special. “