Warriors fans will have to wait just a little bit longer before the highly anticipated reunion of Golden State’s “Big Three.”
Five-time All-Star Klay Thompson is expected to play this season after missing the 2019-20 and 2020-21 campaigns, but he won’t be available to start the year. That’s not a huge surprise considering he hasn’t participated in an NBA game since June 2019 when the Warriors lost to the Raptors in the NBA Finals.
What’s next for Thompson? Here’s everything we know about his injury and the latest news on when he may return to the court.
What is Klay Thompson’s injury?
Thompson was on the road to recovery after missing the entirety of the 2019-20 NBA season with a torn ACL in his left knee. Then, in November 2020, he went down with a leg injury during an offseason workout in Southern California. The Warriors’ worst fears were realized when it was confirmed that Thompson had suffered a torn right Achilles.
The Warriors announced on Nov. 25, 2020, that Thompson underwent successful surgery to repair the torn Achilles. As part of a team statement, Golden State said that Thompson was “expected to make a full recovery.”
How long will Klay Thompson be out?
— On Jan. 8, the Warriors announced that Thompson will be available to play against the Cavaliers on Jan. 9.
— On Jan. 3, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported that there is “optimism” Thompson will be able to make his season debut against the Cavaliers on Jan. 9.
— On Dec. 17, Wojnarowski reported that the Warriors are targeting an early January date for Thompson’s return. Golden State is considering Jan. 9 (vs. Cavaliers) and Jan. 18 (vs. Pistons) as potential return dates. A Jan. 3 return against the Heat has not yet been ruled out, but it is unlikely Thompson will be back on the floor for that contest.
— On Dec. 16, The Athletic’s Shams Charania and Anthony Slater reported that the earliest possible return date for Thompson is Dec. 28, as he is still ramping up his conditioning.
— On. Dec. 3, Thompson took to Instagram Live, telling his followers that he hopes to be back “in the next few weeks” or “maybe a month,” per Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated. That timeline aligns with previous reports indicating that his return could come around Christmas Day.
— On Nov. 28, Charania reported that Thompson had been assigned to the Santa Cruz Warriors, Golden State’s G League affiliate, for increased practice reps. That built on a report from ESPN’s Nick Friedell, who noted that Thompson was participating in full team practices for the first time since tearing his Achilles in November 2020.
— On the Nov. 16 edition of the “Brian Windhorst & The Hoop Collective” podcast, Friedell said that Thompson could return before Christmas Day. Friedell believed that Thompson could be back in the rotation for either the Dec. 20 game against the Kings or the Dec. 23 game against the Grizzlies, both of which are at home.
“I would be surprised if it’s not one of those home games, unless there’s some kind of setback in the next month, which we know with those kind of injuries [could happen],” Friedell said. “They have a couple games just before Christmas, and then I believe it’s a Denver game at home just after Christmas. I’d be surprised if Klay isn’t back in one of those because it just feels like, in the brief glances that we’ve gotten of him working out… he looks like himself.”
— During an August episode of “The Jump,” ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne reported that the Warriors were initially targeting the team’s Christmas Day game against the Suns for Thompson’s return. That would mark 13 months since his Achilles surgery.
“A lot of this is conditioning,” Shelburne said. “He’s doing well in his rehab, but he’s missed two seasons in a row now. So you don’t bring him back [too early]. This is a conservative target. If he does well and his conditioning is up and he feels like he wants to come back earlier, he will. But this is a conservative target of Christmas Day because you need time to build your conditioning back up when you miss two NBA seasons.”
Klay Thompson career stats, highlights
- 19.5 points per game
- 3.5 rebounds per game
- 2.3 assists per game
- 0.5 blocks per game
- 0.9 steals per game
- 1.7 turnovers per game
- 33.1 minutes per game
- 45.9 percent shooting
- 41.9 percent 3-point shooting
- 84.8 percent free throw shooting