Klay Thompson – Will his left Hamstring strain stop him?

The Warriors guard is officially listed as “questionable” for Game 3 following MRI confirmation of a “left mild hamstring strain.” Thompson has reported that he expects to play in the next game (ESPN).

Klay went down in the fourth quarter of Game 2 after a three-point jump shot attempt and left the court whilst clutching the posterior left thigh after a timeout was called. He was seen icing the back of his left thigh post-game but felt optimistic about his chances of playing the next game.

Hamstring (HS) muscle injuries are extremely common in sports. The HS muscles are biarticular (crossing two joints) and consist of the semimembranosus, semitendinosus and biceps femoris (long head). (See Below). Because the HS crosses over two joints, this makes it more vulnerable to injury than other muscles around the hip and knee. Regarding his diagnosis, a mild strain indicates minimal muscle damage has been observed so luckily for Klay there is no complete rupture or proximal avulsion (muscle tearing off the bone where the HS originates).

One factor that may have lead to Klay’s injury is the increased workload he has faced in the last few weeks. In the regular season, Thompson averaged 34.0 minutes per game and thus far in the playoffs, he has tacked on 38.9 minutes a game – almost a 5 minute per game increase. The extra intensity that comes with playoff basketball is also another possible factor that may have contributed to his HS strain. Intensity as a metric is difficult to measure but the former Washington State Cougar but Klay is often tasked with guarding one of the opposing team’s best offensive players in addition to shooting nearly 18 shots a game which is certainly a tough task.

Thompson is a notoriously durable player who has never missed a game in the NBA playoffs. Last year, he suffered a high ankle sprain/syndesmosis injury against the Cleveland Cavaliers in the 2018 NBA Finals and was able to continue in the series. Most low-grade HS injuries generally take a couple of weeks to recover but don’t count out on Klay missing the next game.

Ernlund & Vieira, 2017. Hamstring injuries: update article. RBO.
Brukner & Khan, 2017. Clinical Sports Medicine 5th ed

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