Warriors' Klay Thompson Talks Achilles Injury Rehab, Expectations for Return

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistMarch 14, 2021

Golden State Warriors guard Klay Thompson, left, talks with Cleveland Cavaliers forward Kevin Love after the Warriors defeated the Cavaliers in an NBA basketball game in San Francisco, Monday, Feb. 15, 2021. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)
Jeff Chiu/Associated Press

When Klay Thompson returns to basketball action in the 2021-22 season, it will be after missing two whole years to a torn ACL in 2019 and a torn right Achilles in 2020. 

On Sunday, he provided reporters with an update on his recovery and his hopes for a return next season:

Mark Medina @MarkG_Medina

Klay Thompson speaking to reporters before the Warriors-Jazz game and asked about his Achilles injury: "Thanks for reminding me. It's something I don't like to revisit too much. It's very painful."

Mark Medina @MarkG_Medina

Klay said he has his walking boot off and is doing calf raises and mobility & balance work. Has not been cleared to run yet. He said his target return for opening night next season

Mark Medina @MarkG_Medina

Klay Thompson said he's talked a lot to Dominique Wilkins about overcoming an Achilles injury as well as Grant Hill with how he dealt with tough injuries at the end of his career. Lastly, Klay said he talked with inspirational speaker Tony Robbins

Mark Medina @MarkG_Medina

Klay Thompson expects he'll likely be on a minutes restriction around 18-20 minutes to open the season. But, "I plan to be an All-NBA player" as he progresses

Mark Medina @MarkG_Medina

Klay Thompson described 2020 as "the worst year of my life" for reasons including the pandemic, passing of Kobe and Gianna Bryant, his Achilles injury and losing his grandmother

Without Thompson, the Warriors are without one of the best shooters in basketball, an excellent perimeter defender and the team's second-best scoring threat behind Stephen Curry. 

In the 2018-19 campaign, the 31-year-old averaged 21.5 points, 3.8 rebounds, 2.4 assists and 1.1 steals per game, shooting 46.7 percent from the field and 40.2 percent from three. For his career he's 41.9 percent from beyond the arc. 

He and Curry—the famed Splash Brothers—helped lead the Warriors to three titles in four seasons before getting injured against the Toronto Raptors in the 2018-19 NBA Finals, won by the Raptors. The five-time All-Star and two-time All-NBA third-team selection also helped change modern basketball, as the perimeter-focused Dubs were at the forefront of the current push toward floor spacing and three-point shooting. 

Suffice to say, Thompson's two-year injury hiatus is not only a major blow for the Warriors, but for basketball fans in general. But when he returns, expect to see Thompson back at the top of his game. 

"I plan on being the All-NBA player I was. I will not settle for anything less," he told reporters. "I'm too competitive to just take a relegated role. That's not me. I'm too fiery just to come out there and give you 13 a game on 20 minutes. I can't wait, man. I got a lot of pent up energy."

And as for the Warriors, well, Thompson wants a fourth ring.

"I anticipate us being right back in contention for a championship again," he said.