Fans have long waited but Klay Thompson does not seem to be returning to the court. He did, however, travel with the Golden State Warriors to the Phoenix Suns where he participated in pregame shooting drills before the Warriors defeated Phoenix 116-107.
While he has not traveled with the Warriors in the past few weeks, head coach Steve Kerr said he was going to Phoenix with the team to continue building his strength and stamina before returning to play after over two years of hiatus.
“He’s getting closer and closer,” Kerr said on Saturday. “It’s great for him to be with the team. Get used to the rhythm of the road again and it’s a good sign that he’s here.”
The last time Thompson appeared in a game for the Warriors was in Game 6 of the 2019 NBA Finals when he tore his ACL. During a pickup game in Los Angeles, near the end of his initial recovery process, Thompson tore his Achilles tendon and had to undergo an even longer recovery process.
When will Thompson return?
Despite Thompson’s current practice regimen and his participation in shooting drills that suggest that he would return to the court in January, Kerr and other staff members have been careful about publishing any details surrounding his comeback.
“Klay is right on schedule, everything has gone smoothly, he’s in a great place and whatever is out there is out there, but if you look at all of our thoughts over the first part of the season, we’ve been consistent,” Kerr said. “He’ll come back when he’s ready and we haven’t put a timetable on it.”
During Saturday’s pregame press conference, Kerr was asked about Thompson’s display of competitiveness during the pregame shooting drills, to which he answered “That’s just who Klay is”.
“He’s unbelievably competitive and this has been his only outlet to compete for the last couple of months,” Kerr said. “Scrimmages, workouts and he’s competing against himself in a lot of ways. He wants to get better every single day and he holds himself to a really high standard and that will translate well when he gets to compete against an opponent.”
Merry Christmas, Dub Nation 🎄
Klay getting up shots in PHX 👀 pic.twitter.com/AmzFU36OZ4
— Warriors on NBCS (@NBCSWarriors) December 25, 2021
Warriors still waiting for the perfect time
Thompson’s return has been long-awaited by both fans and his team. The Warriors have been, however, said that they will not reinstall the player ahead of schedule. Golden State insisted that the star player needed to continue building his stamina in scrimmages before he is allowed to participate in an NBA game. They added that when he rejoins, his workload would be closely monitored and carefully managed.
“As you can imagine after two-plus years of not playing, it’s beyond just dealing with an injury, it’s dealing with stamina, strength, endurance, everything you need to play,” Kerr said. “That’s why he’s been scrimmaging and building up his scrimmages over the last few weeks and the time that he’s able to stay on the floor and it’s all gone really smoothly.”
Thompson is among the six Warriors players that were sidelined for Golden State’s Christmas Day Showdown in Phoenix. The other five were Andrew Wiggins, Jordan Poole, Damion Lee and Moses Moody, who are all in the NBA’s health and safety protocols, and Andre Iguodala, who was out with a knee injury.