Klay Thompson return: Warriors have ‘optimism’ he’ll return this weekend, per report

Klay Thompson return: Warriors have ‘optimism’ he’ll return this weekend, per report

Klay Thompson, Steph Curry and Draymond Green shared the court together Monday during warm ups, the first scene featuring the three Golden State Warriors stars together in two and a half years, the latest indication that the wait could soon be over for Warriors fans.

Earlier that day, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported that there is “optimism” around the team that Thompson will play Sunday against the Cleveland with a decision coming Friday after their upcoming road trip. The Warriors host the Heat on Monday night before traveling to Dallas and New Orleans for road games Wednesday and Thursday.

Before tipoff Monday, coach Steve Kerr declined to comment on the recent report.

“No update,” Kerr said. “It’s possible.”

Moments later, Thompson emerged from the tunnel to cheers from the already fans gathered to watch Curry’s famous warm-up routine. Soon thereafter, a wide-smiling Green joined them, marking the first time the trio has warmed up together since Thompson left Game 6 of the 2019 Finals with a torn anterior cruciate ligament.

SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA – JANUARY 3: Golden State Warriors’ Klay Thompson (11) sits on the bench next to Miami Heat’s Kyle Lowry (7) during warmups before their game agains the Miami Heat at the Chase Center in San Francisco, Calif., on Monday, Jan. 3, 2022. (Nhat V. Meyer/Bay Area News Group)

Thompson has been making steady progress toward a return: He’s practiced with the Warriors throughout the season, joining the G League team in Santa Cruz for two stints — including five-on-five work — with the NBA Warriors on the road. Just last week, he played in the Warriors’ impromptu scrimmage after a game against the Nuggets was called off over Denver’s COVID situation.

The Sunday home game is a one-off before a four-game road trip back to the Central Time Zone to face the Grizzlies, Bucks, Bulls and Timberwolves. The Warriors have made it clear that they prefer for Thompson to return to action — and starting games — with a home debut. The next home game after Sunday is Jan. 18 against the Pistons.

A return for the game against the Cavaliers would come 522 days after he last played in an NBA game.

Thompson has been out since tearing his left ACL in Game 6 of the 2019 NBA Finals, then tearing his right Achilles tendon in November 2020 while preparing for the shortened 2020-21 season.

The scrimmage was his first time in a game-type situation alongside Steph Curry since the initial injury.

“It’s been over two years,” coach Steve Kerr said of the scrimmage in Denver. “Those guys have such a history together, so for me it was just fun to sit back and see them smiling and on the court together again.”

Without him, the Warriors hold the top spot in the NBA’s Western Conference, but adding a five-time All-Star and one of the best shooters in league history — even if he’s been diminished by injuries — would be a boon for their title chances.

Kerr recently told reporters that Thompson will return to the starting lineup as soon as he’s back in uniform.

They stretched their record to 28-7 with a comeback win Saturday night in Utah against the Jazz (26-10).

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