According to ESPN's Ramona Shelburne, the Warriors are hoping to have Thompson make his 2021-22 season debut on Christmas Day vs. the Phoenix Suns.
"He's doing well in his recovery, but the Warriors are targeting that Christmas Day game against the Suns for his return," Shelburne said on The Jump (h/t CBS Sports' Colin Ward-Henninger). "He could come back a little bit before that, but in terms of getting his conditioning right, they're targeting that Christmas Day game against the Suns. I know that sounds a little late to people, but he was injured on Nov. 18, so this is 13 months from an Achilles injury."
Prior to the 2019 NBA Finals, durability was a strength for the 31-year-old. Through his first eight seasons, he missed 25 games in the regular season.
Then the five-time All-Star suffered a torn ACL against the Toronto Raptors in June 2019, which ruled him out for all of 2019-20. As he was preparing for his return to the court, he tore his right Achilles tendon in November 2020. The Warriors confirmed he was likely to miss another full season.
Golden State acted quickly to acquire Kelly Oubre Jr. to replace Thompson, but some began writing eulogies for the franchise's dynastic run, such was the significance of his injury.
A Christmas return would mark 30 months since Thompson's last appearance in an NBA game. The Warriors are banking on him playing with Stephen Curry and Draymond Green to return to elite status in the Western Conference.
Shooters tend to age gracefully, and the Los Angeles native didn't rely on supreme athleticism to become one of the NBA's best two-way guards at his peak. But an Achilles tear on top of an ACL tear raised obvious questions about what kind of player he'd be going forward.
The health and performance of Thompson during the upcoming season will be critical toward the Warriors maximizing what's left of their championship window.