Steve Kerr hopes Kevin Durant's return inspires Klay Thompson's recovery

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Josh Schrock
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Kerr knows KD's return will inspire Klay's Achilles recovery originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea

Kevin Durant has been where Klay Thompson is, and he's come out the other side.

Durant ruptured his Achilles in Game 5 of the 2019 NBA Finals against the Toronto Raptors and missed all of last season while rehabbing. Thompson tore his right Achilles in November and now the Warriors star will miss a second straight full season after missing last year while rehabbing a torn ACL.

Durant made his return to an NBA court Dec. 13 and looked like his old self in his Brooklyn Nets debut. Warriors coach Steve Kerr was happy to see Durant back and knows that watching KD succeed in coming back from the severe injury will inspire Thompson as he starts his journey back.

“Yeah, for sure. I mean, we want Kevin to get back to the level where he was prior to that injury,” Kerr told Frank Isola and Brian Scalabrine on Sirius XM NBA Radio on Monday. “It’s great to just see him healthy and playing again and enjoying the game, and for Klay, it’s just devastating. You know, he loves the game so much and to miss an entire season, to look forward to the next year, which he did all last year and anticipate being back out, and then all of a sudden, going through the exact same thing with another season-ending injury.

“I don’t know, maybe Grant Hill is the only guy that I could think of who had to sit out multiple seasons with injuries, at least players of that caliber. So we are all just feeling really, really sad for Klay, but it will inspire him, I’m sure, to see Kevin back out there healthy again.”

Thompson's injury was a gut punch for a Warriors team hoping to vault back into title contention after a year at the bottom of the NBA.

President of basketball operations Bob Myers sprang into action after Thompson's injury, acquiring Kelly Oubre Jr. in a trade with the Oklahoma City Thunder to help fill the void on the wing.

But Thompson's absence will be felt for all 72 regular-season games and any postseason games the Warriors play in. It's an unnatural sight to see Steph Curry not flanked by his Splash Brother, and the Warriors won't be the same without Thompson on the floor.

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Kerr and the Warriors will get a first-hand look at Durant's recovery on Dec. 22 when Golden State faces the Nets in Brooklyn on Opening Night.

Even if Durant torches the Warriors on Opening Night, it should give Kerr some optimism that Thompson can follow a similar path back and will be launching 3s alongside Curry next season.

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