The Golden State Warriors own the NBA’s best record at 15-2 and soon they will be adding another superstar to their lineup.
Klay Thompson, who has not played since the 2019 NBA Finals after tearing his ACL in June 2019 and his Achilles that November, is close to returning to join his buddies Steph Curry and Draymond Green and the Warriors young core.
“We don’t have a target date,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr told reporters Tuesday, according to beat writer Connor Letourneau of the San Francisco Chronicle. “What we have is a number of weeks ahead of us where we’re going to for certain let it play out. … I would think that, within a few weeks, we’d be able to sort of get a target date.”
The Athletic reported this week that Thompson could return Dec. 20 against the Kings or Dec. 23 against the Grizzlies. The Warriors visit the Suns in a marquee matchup on Christmas Day.
“I don’t know,” Thompson told reporters when asked about a timeline on a return. “It’s really hard to say. It’s definitely a feel thing. … Hopefully sooner rather than later because I am really excited to get back to balling.”
Thompson, 31, is a five-time NBA All-Star and three-time NBA champion, but he is hungry for another title.
“I’m more motivated than ever,” he said. “I want a championship so bad. More than anything.”
Thompson has been cleared to practice, as The Athletic reported, and has been scrimmaging 5-on-5, but Kerr says Thompson gets fatigued easily.
“He looks good,” Kerr said. “…It’s just a matter of building strength and endurance, especially the endurance part. It just takes time.”
Kerr has repeatedly praised the Nets for how they handled Kevin Durant in his return from a torn Achilles suffered during the 2019 NBA Finals. Durant sat out all of the 2019-20 season and has been playing at an MVP level this season.
“As for Kevin, I think we all expected him to come back and play at a high level, he’s just so skilled at that size,” Kerr said ahead of the Warriors victory over the Nets last week in Brooklyn.
“I think it probably helped him that he had as much time off as he did, if I’m not mistaken 17 months from the surgery to his first game. They did a smart job last year kind of pacing him but it’s great to see. He’s one of the best players in the game, and he means a lot to our franchise.”
In an ideal world, Thompson will have a similar type of comeback with Golden State — and slide in effortlessly as the Warriors pursue another championship.
“Klay looked good, especially for someone who’s been out that long,” Kevon Looney told reporters. “… We’re excited to see him get back.”