Following Golden State’s advance to the NBA Finals, Klay Thompson experienced “concussion-like symptoms” after Trevor Ariza’s flying knee connected with Thompson’s right ear. Forgive us for re-showing it, but it lends credence to the severity of Thompson’s post-game danger signs.
Thompson might have been overwhelmed with his first trip to the NBA Finals, but the seriousness of his symptoms will force him to clear the NBA’s concussion protocol before he can suit up for Game 1 of the NBA Finals.
Thompson was in no condition to drive last night, so his father took him home.
But Thompson’s dad downplayed the head trauma after the game:
“He said he just needs a good night’s sleep,” said Thompson’s father, former NBA player Mychal Thompson. “[He] threw up and says he feels a lot better.”
When Thompson was speaking with Doris Burke as confetti flew around Oracle Arena, he couldn’t initially hear her question since it was on his right side — opposite the same ear that looked like this when he originally returned to the court following the Ariza knee:
Thompson went back to the locker room and got three stitches to stem that flow of blood, but it wasn’t as simple as a cut to the ear.
Thompson told Doris he’ll “be alright,” but added he was “a little dizzy, but ummm. We got a week off, or close to it. I’ll be alright, I’ll get my health back.”
When asked if he believes Thompson will complete the concussion protocol quickly, Mychal Thompson told Yahoo Sports: “Yeah, I think so, but I’m no doctor.”
Below is the NBA’s return-to-participation protocol after concussion symptoms like the ones above:
The return to participation protocol involves several steps of increasing exertion — from a stationary bike, to jogging, to agility work, to non-contact team drills.
With each step, a player must be symptom free to move to the next step. If a player is not symptom free after a step, he stops until he is symptom free and begins again at the previous step of the protocol (i.e., the last step he passed without any symptoms).
While the final return-to participation decision is to be made by the player’s team physician, the team physician must discuss the return-to-participation process and decision with Dr. Jeffrey Kutcher, the director of the NBA’s Concussion Program, prior to the player being cleared for full participation in NBA Basketball.
It’s important to note that there is no time frame to complete the protocol. Each injury and player is different and recovery time can vary in each case.
There’s no right answer to this. Some might even say the Warriors failed to keep their player safe by allowing him to return to the game, but when he’s not experiencing the symptoms of a concussion, or he’s lying about them, there’s nothing a team can do.
Foresight is 20/20 and now that those concussion fears have been realized, he’ll have to go through the process of getting cleared. A week is a long time in the NBA Playoffs, but it might not be enough for Thompson to get right for Game 1.
Thompson was magnificent in the second quarter, scoring 13 points as the Warriors took a 52-46 lead into the break. Let’s hope the Warriors have one-half of their vaunted backcourt healthy and ready for the Cavs in Game 1.
The NBA Finals tip off Thursday, June 4 at 9 p.m. EST on ABC.