Klay: 'Kills me every day' to miss another year

SAN FRANCISCO -- Golden State Warriors swingman Klay Thompson says it "kills" him to be missing his second straight season, this time because of an Achilles tear, but the former All-Star says his rehab is coming along well and that he still plans on playing for "a long time."

Speaking for the first time since suffering a series-ending right Achilles tear during a workout on Nov. 18, Thompson was in good spirits as he discussed the long process he faces.

"I'm living good," Thompson told NBC Bay Area during Saturday night's game between the Warriors and the Detroit Pistons. "To be back in the building that I'm so eagerly awaiting to play in. Just a little bored at times. Stuff's slow with trying to let my Achilles heal and get to the next stage, which is mobility work, but I'm feeling good. I'm happy to be with my teammates, obviously.

"Unfortunately, I'm not playing. It kills me every day, but I plan on playing for a long time, and I don't want to have any mishaps come this rehab."

Thompson missed all of the 2019-20 season after tearing the ACL in his left knee during Game 6 of the NBA Finals against the Toronto Raptors. The Warriors were hoping that Thompson could help push the organization back into championship contention, but those dreams evaporated just a few hours before the 2020 draft when Thompson injured his Achilles during a workout in Los Angeles.

As saddened as the Warriors were about Thompson's latest injury, they are happy that he has been around the team more since having surgery to fix his Achilles in late November. Thompson has been at several Warriors home games at Chase Center cheering on his teammates from the bench.

Thompson acknowledged during Saturday's game that he didn't want to do the interview, but that the banner that hung behind him helped him change his mind.

"I didn't want to do it, but then I saw this backdrop and someone went through great lengths to make that happen," Thompson explained as the backdrop with the hashtag #reporterKlay was on display behind him. "So I felt bad not fulfilling my end of the deal."

As he did last season during a brief appearance as a sideline reporter, Thompson had a little fun with broadcasters Bob Fitzgerald and Kelenna Azubuike during the telecast. One of the conversations that came up centered around Thompson's 3-point record, after he hit 14 three-pointers in an October 2018 game against the Chicago Bulls.

"That's probably going to be broken here in the next few years," Thompson said. "Steph Curry -- it's up to Steph. Zach LaVine was close. But I might break it again, I don't know. I don't think that's going to last that long."

Warriors coach Steve Kerr admitted before Saturday's game that he didn't know Thompson was going to drop in on the telecast, but he said he would make note of the appearance when he watched later.

"He's always very entertaining with his dry wit," Kerr said of Thompson. "So when I watch the tape of the game I will definitely have the volume up."