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Klay Thompson Rumors: Warriors Star Won't Play Back-to-Backs in Return from Injuries

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured Columnist IVJanuary 10, 2022

Golden State Warriors guard Klay Thompson reacts after scoring against the Cleveland Cavaliers during the second half of an NBA basketball game in San Francisco, Sunday, Jan. 9, 2022. (AP Photo/John Hefti)
AP Photo/John Hefti

Klay Thompson saw his first game action since the 2019 NBA Finals while helping lead the Golden State Warriors to a victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers on Sunday, but don't expect him to be taking the court on a nightly basis as he returns from ACL and Achilles injuries.

ESPN's Ramona Shelburne discussed Golden State's plan for Thompson during Monday's episode of NBA Today and said he will play 15-20 minutes a night and sit out one leg of back-to-backs for the time being as he builds back his strength and conditioning ahead of a potential playoff run:

Even the most optimistic Warriors fan would have been hard-pressed to expect a night like Thompson had Sunday in his first game back.

He finished with 17 points, three rebounds, one block and one assist in 20 minutes while hitting three shots from beyond the arc and even throwing down a monster dunk while driving the lane. He attempted 18 shots in that limited playing time, hinting at the fact he will not be shy when he is on the floor.      

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KLAY THROWS IT DOWN.<br><br>OH MY. <a href="https://t.co/7EvT1zrAAH">pic.twitter.com/7EvT1zrAAH</a>

"I was so excited I saw a lane to the basket that I just took the opportunity," Thompson told reporters. "After that I thought it was going to be one of those nights where I might be unconscious. I did not shoot as well as I wanted to but I'm so happy I can even look at the stat sheet and see my name there. It's been a long run. I'm not going to say it equivalent to winning a championship but it was pretty close."

It shouldn't come as much of a surprise the Warriors are going to be cautious with Thompson as he comes back from two serious injuries.

After all, they were 29-9 without him to start the season and are tied with the Phoenix Suns atop the Western Conference.

While they likely need him to win a championship, they don't necessarily need him on the floor every night during the regular season to maintain their status as top contenders. Having Thompson healthy and ready to play 30-plus minutes a night come May is far more important than what he can do in January.

A team that won three championships and reached five straight NBA Finals with Thompson on the floor knows that better than most.