Draymond Green won’t let injury stop him from sharing the pitch with Klay Thompson.
On Sunday night, Thompson returned to the Warriors lineup for the first time in 941 days. The 31-year-old goalscorer has missed comeback seasons after suffering ACL and Achillies injuries, and he sat out the first 38 games of the 2021-22 Golden State campaign as he regained form.
The Warriors vs Cavaliers match was set to bring the Bay Area’s “Big Three” of Green, Thompson and Stephen Curry back together, but an unfortunate injury ruined the long-awaited reunion. Golden State announced just before the tipoff that Green had gone through “tighten left calf” during his pregnancy, and it looks like he’ll be forced out.
But Thompson’s moment was too important for Green to miss. He decided to take the floor for the opening tip, then immediately fouled to get sub. Warriors coach Steve Kerr told reporters after the game that he explained the plan to Cavs coach JB Bickerstaff, and Cleveland agreed to let the opening streak go that way.
Draymond Green won’t be playing tonight (left calf pain), but he still wants to lay on the floor with Klay for his comeback.
So Green was there for the opening tip and fouled him out of the game ❤️ pic.twitter.com/puAzOy3rxe
– ESPN (@espn) January 10, 2022
“[It meant] great number of,” Thompson said when asked about Green’s gesture. “I mean, I can’t wait to play with Dray again. He makes my life so much easier when it comes to hunting and playing defense. We were at the top of the mountain together. We were. went through some frenetic battles I love Draymond’s competitiveness, and it’s great to have a near-full roster back.
“I have such a history with Steph and Dray that it was nice to sit there with those two before the game and just soak in it all.”
Thompson finished with 17 points shooting 7/18 in the Warriors’ 96-82 win over the Cavs, but he wasn’t overly concerned with his numbers. He’s just happy to “even look at the stats and see my name there.”
“I’m so grateful to be playing again,” Thompson said. “It’s been a long road. I’m also proud of myself for being persistent. It was a very special moment. [that] I will never forget. I wouldn’t say it equates to winning a championship, but man, it’s pretty damn close. … Just to be able to go out there and shoot and defend and play, I mean, man, that’s special. “