You could tell how much Klay Thompson wants to return the game when he sat there with a towel over his head on the bench long after the Warriors beat the Trail Blazers last week.
He’s getting closer to a return, having been assigned the Santa Cruz Warriors so he could go through some full-speed practices (NBA teams practice very little, focusing more on recovery/film sessions/individual work).
step by step @KlayThompson || @GLeagueWarriors pic.twitter.com/9dZ3NXyX9u
— Golden State Warriors (@warriors) November 30, 2021
Sea Dubs Klay looks 🔥pic.twitter.com/3nMJAgGE0H
— Warriors on NBCS (@NBCSWarriors) November 29, 2021
The good news for Warriors fans — and just fans of good basketball — is that Thompson looks good. According to Santa Cruz coach Seth Cooper, he went all out in practice, no stop, and hit his first 18 shots.
"He's cleared for full go, so everything we did was full 100% he was going. There was no holding him back. There was no pulling back, it was just letting him go and letting him experience playing all out. He did that, and he looked really good doing it." HC Seth Cooper on Klay pic.twitter.com/Vr4GqB88Gs
— r/Warriors (@GSWReddit) November 29, 2021
There is no return timeline set for Thompson (at least that the Warriors will make public), but the expectation is he is playing before Christmas (with a minutes limit to start). He has not played an NBA game since the 2019 NBA Finals, and in that time has suffered both a torn ACL and a ruptured Achilles.
The Warriors will not have Thompson in the lineup for a Tuesday night showdown against the other clear top team in the league early: The Phoenix Suns. Chris Paul, Devin Booker and company ride a 16-game winning streak — including beating both New York teams over the weekend — into a much anticipated early-season showdown in the Valley of the Sun.