Warriors News: Klay Thompson Scrimmages with Starters Ahead of Achilles Injury Return

Erin WalshDecember 31, 2021

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - DECEMBER 3: Klay Thompson #11 of the Golden State Warriors warms up before the game against the Phoenix Suns on December 3, 2021 at Chase Center in San Francisco, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2021 NBAE (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/NBAE via Getty Images)
Jed Jacobsohn/NBAE via Getty Images

It appears something good came out of Thursday's Golden State Warriors-Denver Nuggets postponement. 

For the first time since the 2019 NBA Finals, Warriors star Klay Thompson scrimmaged with the team's starters, including Stephen Curry, per Connor Letourneau of the San Francisco Chronicle, which is a great sign he's nearing a return. 

Connor Letourneau @Con_Chron

Steve Kerr made one thing clear tonight: Klay Thompson will start right away when he comes back.

Thompson hasn't appeared in an NBA game since Game 6 of the 2019 Finals after tearing his ACL. He would have returned for the 2020-21 season but suffered a torn Achilles during an offseason workout. 

The Athletic and Stadium's Shams Charania recently said during an appearance on KNBR 680 that a Jan. 9 home matchup against the Cleveland Cavaliers could be a realistic target for Thompson's return to the court. Golden State's next home game after that isn't until Jan. 18. 

Charania added that Thompson's return date could be stretched to the 18th. However, he noted the 31-year-old has been physically and mentally ready, and he believes his return will come sooner rather than later. 

Thompson could have returned before Christmas, Charania said, but with the Warriors holding the best record in the NBA, they wanted to wait until he was 100 percent healthy and in shape. 

“He could have played before Christmas, but the way that the Warriors went about his rehab and bringing him back, making sure he’s able to play at a peak level," Charania said. "He was doing scrimmages with the Santa Cruz Warriors and he was going five to seven minute bursts, but the Warriors wanted to make sure he was going full speed for 12 consecutive minutes or 10 consecutive minutes, because that’s the amount of time he might play on any given game when he does return.
“I don’t think they bring him back in that type of setting as far as throwing him out there and making him play 10 minutes straight, but just being able to get his body to that peak shape was very important for the Warriors process."

Thompson has been aching to return. He said during an ESPN broadcast last month that he misses being away from the court, adding, "I think these last two years have given me a great sense of appreciation for the work it takes to be great, and my story is still being written."

During the 2018-19 season, Thompson averaged 21.5 points, 3.8 rebounds and 2.4 assists while shooting 46.7 percent from the field and 40.2 percent from deep in 78 games.

The Warriors, who are tied for the best record in the NBA at 27-7, have been carried by Curry while getting a scoring lift from Andrew Wiggins and Jordan Poole through the first half of the season. Curry leads the team with 27.7 points per game, while Wiggins is averaging 18.8 points and Poole 17.9 points per game. 

Draymond Green and Kevon Looney have also been instrumental to Golden State's success. Green leads the team in rebounds, assists and blocks per game, while Looney has been a key depth piece.