Warriors’ Klay Thompson cleared for next step in rehab

BROOKLYN — Three thousand miles away from his teammates, Klay Thompson got one step closer to rejoining them on the court.

The Warriors’ star shooting guard played five-on-five Monday at the team’s facility in San Francisco, coach Steve Kerr confirmed after Golden State’s 117-99 win Tuesday against the Nets. Thompson isn’t expected to return until at least mid-December, but his participation in full-on scrimmages marks a major milestone in his rehab from injuries that have cost him the past two seasons.

“It’s great that he’s playing five on five, but that doesn’t mean he’s going to be ready to step on an NBA floor next week or something,” Kerr said. “But he’s progressing really well.”

The other Warriors player to stay home to focus on rehab was James Wiseman, but the former No. 2 overall pick has yet to be cleared for five-on-five action, Kerr said. Both players have been approved for full contact.

It’s been nearly a year since Thompson underwent surgery on his ruptured right Achilles tendon, Nov. 25, 2020, while Wiseman has been working his way back from a torn meniscus since going under the knife April 15.

“The injury that suffered, everything is clear. There’s no structural issues or anything,” Kerr said of Wiseman. “It’s just an injury that requires a lot of give and take, daily maintenance and checking in on how he’s doing.”

Kerr has been receiving daily reports from Dr. Rick Celebrini, the head of the training staff who also stayed behind.

The Warriors are eager to add both players to a roster that has started the season 12-2 and just convincingly defeated one of the top contenders in the Eastern Conference.

Draymond Green said he’s been keeping tabs on Thompson but is careful not to prod too far.

“You talk to him, but you don’t want to ask too many questions,” Green said. “You start to feel pressure, all of that. … We’re waiting with open arms whenever he decides to come back.”

Thompson was at the top of his game when he tore his ACL in the 2019 NBA Finals. Eventually cleared to return to basketball activities from that injury, Thompson suffered another traumatic injury when he tore his Achilles while playing a game of pick-up.

Now, he’s back close to where he was in his initial rehab.

“He’s worked his ass off for this moment, and I’m looking forward to getting him back out there,” Green said, noting Thompson’s presence affects how opposing teams perceive the Warriors. “We’re not expecting him to be Klay Thompson of 2018 right away, but he’s worked his ass off.”

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