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Kerr expects All-Star Thompson to play in Finals

Warriors head Coach Steve Kerr believes Klay Thompson will be ready to play in Game 1 of the NBA Finals.

Thompson, diagnosed with a concussion, is currently sidelined from all basketball activity until he is symptom-free and passes all the necessary NBA protocol and did not practice Friday or Saturday.

The injury (concussion and laceration to the right ear) occurred in the fourth quarter of the Western Conference Championship clinching game Wednesday when Trevor Ariza collided with Thompson in the fourth quarter.

Despite Thompson not being able to return to on court activity, with no timetable for his return, Kerr was confident Saturday when SFBay asked if Thompson was expected to be back in time for the Finals:

“Yes. I expect him to be there … He’s doing well and going through the whole protocol and progressing. We’ll keep taking it day by day. I’m anticipating he’ll be there.”

The NBA’s official concussion policy for returning to participation is defined as follows:

  • 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.

Kerr noted that the NBA’s attention to head injuries is drastically different now than it was when he was playing:

“Its dramatically different, as it should be. We know a lot more about these types of injuries, so its important we go through the process and make sure we get it right.”

As for Thompson’s disposition, Kerr told SFBay Thompson is as he always is:

“Klay’s disposition never changes. He’s always just mellow. He takes it all in stride. It’s good that we have this break so he can go through what he needs to get through and as I said its coming along well.”

If Thompson fails to clear all of the NBA concussion protocol Kerr said that Leandro Barbosa would play a larger role with Justin Holiday also a possibility for filling in.

Injury update

Marreese Speights, who has been out with a right calf strain, returned to action Saturday, participating in non-contact drills during practice.

Festus Ezeli was said to be under the weather and did not practice Saturday but is expected to return.

Follow @SFBay and @NBASarah on Twitter and at for full coverage of the Golden State Warriors.

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