Klay Thompson Expected to Return from Injury in Game 4, Steve Kerr Says

Paul KasabianSenior Contributor

TORONTO, ONTARIO - JUNE 02:  Klay Thompson #11 of the Golden State Warriors attempts a shot against Fred VanVleet #23 of the Toronto Raptors during Game Two of the 2019 NBA Finals at Scotiabank Arena on June 02, 2019 in Toronto, Canada.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Kyle Terada - Pool/Getty Images)
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Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr told Tim Kawakami of The Athletic on Wednesday night that he expects shooting guard Klay Thompson to return for Game 4 of the NBA Finals after missing Game 3 with a left hamstring strain.

Yahoo Sports' Chris Haynes later reported on Thursday that Thompson will return for Friday's pivotal Game 4 matchup.

"The whole point was to not risk a bigger injury that would keep him out of the rest of the series," Warriors coach Steve Kerr said after the game to reporters.

"So that was the decision we made, and I feel very comfortable with it. Never would have forgiven myself if I played him tonight and he had gotten hurt. So you live with the decision you make, you make a wise decision, the wisest one you can, and then you live with it and move forward. So the good thing is Klay has done well the last two days, now he has a couple more days to heal, and hopefully he'll be out there [for Game 4] on Friday."

The Warriors are down 2-1 in the seven-game series to the Toronto Raptors after dropping Wednesday's contest 123-109. Thompson was active and got shots up before the game but did not play.

The eight-year veteran averaged 21.5 points per game during his fifth straight All-Star campaign for the Warriors. He hit 40 percent or more of his three-pointers for the eighth consecutive season.

Naturally, losing Thompson is a large blow for the Warriors, who struggled offensively without the shooting guard on the floor. Stephen Curry scored 47 of the team's 109 points, and no one outside Draymond Green scored more than 11. The team also shot just 22-of-60 from the field minus Curry's efforts.

Golden State was also without Kevin Durant, who averaged 26.0 points per game, for an eighth straight playoff contest because of a right calf strain.

With Thompson back in the mix, however, the Warriors are listed as 5.5-point favorites for Game 4 at the Caesars Palace sportsbook. That number would figure to rise if Durant can return, but as Kawakami noted, Kerr isn't sure about his status as of yet.

Thompson has averaged 19.5 points per game during the 2018-19 postseason. He's fared particularly well against the Raps in two games, posting 23.0 points a night and shooting 52.9 percent from the field.

The ex-Washington State star has proved to be a problem for the Toronto defense, and he'd certainly be a welcome sight for a Warriors offense in desperate need of more outside shooting.

Game 4 is Friday at 9 p.m. ET at Oracle Arena in Oakland, California.