Klay Thompson may be cleared to practice but return before Christmas seems likely

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The 15-2 Warriors, with the second-best offense in the NBA, appear to be weeks away from getting an All-NBA player and elite shooter back in the rotation.

Thompson has been cleared to practice with the team and targets a pre-Christmas return to the court, reports Shams Charania and Anthony Slater of The Athletic.

Klay Thompson came through well after a week of 5-on-5 scrimmaging and has been cleared to be a full-time participant in all future Warriors’ practices, sources tell The Athletic. Thompson is trending toward a potential return the week before Christmas Day, those sources said.

In-season practices aren’t the most intense. Veterans typically use off-days to rest, get treatment and watch film… But this is still a vital advancement in his ramp-up.

Steve Kerr, how do you feel about that?

“Nobody has told me that, so I don’t know where that came from,” Kerr said.

Still, Thompson is close, and the pre-Christmas target makes sense, that had been an earlier target for the Warriors but they pushed back on it at the time.

The Warriors are protecting Thompson — and his Jackie Moon headband look — from himself. The last time he was on an NBA court was the 2019 NBA Finals (29 months ago), and since then has torn both his ACL and Achilles. Thompson wants to push through and play; the Warriors need him to be patient and not overdo things, risking another injury. They are going to be easing him back in.

Thompson will return to a smart, veteran-heavy Warriors roster where Stephen Curry has started the season at an MVP-level, those savvy veterans know how to use the space Curry creates to get themselves good shots, and Draymond Green leads a stifling defense. If the Warriors can mesh Thompson (and, also soon, James Wiseman) into the mix, and stay healthy, this team is a serious title contender. Right now, they are setting the bar in the NBA.