It’s been a while since we last saw Klay Thompson take the court. The Golden State Warriors sharpshooter has not seen action since the 2018-19 season. It feels odd that Thompson’s last appearance on an NBA court happened before COVID-19 engulfed the world, but he’s on his way to a comeback.
Barring any more cruel tricks from the gods of basketball, Thompson is soon going to help the Warriors become a force in the league. He will not be in uniform on opening night, but he’s expected to make his much-awaited return before the year ends, according to Ramona Shelburne of ESPN (h/t Colin Ward-Henninger of CBS Sports).
“He’s doing well in his recovery, but the Warriors are targeting that Christmas Day game against the Suns for his return,” Shelburne said on The Jump. “He could come back a little bit before that, but in terms of getting his conditioning right, they’re targeting that Christmas Day game against the Suns. I know that sounds a little late to people, but he was injured on Nov. 18, so this is 13 months from an Achilles injury.”
Thompson’s troubles began when he suffered a torn ACL in his left knee during the 2019 NBA Finals against the Toronto Raptors. That injury cost Thompson the entire 2019-20 NBA season, which coincided with the departure of Kevin Durant from The Bay and bookmarked the start of the Warriors’ sharp decline. Without Durant and Thompson, the Warriors missed the playoffs in the 2019-20 season, as they finished with just a 15-50 record.
The 2020-21 NBA season was supposed to be the time Thompson and Warriors would redeem themselves as a serious force in the league again, but he sustained yet another season-ending devastating injury — an Achilles tendon tear — while working out in the offseason. Golden State, driven by Stephen Curry’s ridiculous season, put together an admirable effort despite missing Thompson for the second season in a row, but still missed the boat to the postseason.
The Warriors are at their best when Curry and Thompson are both on the floor, each making opposing defenses tap out. Both in their early 30s, the Splash Brothers should have a few more good years in them, which the Warriors are looking to maximize. Curry is under contract until the end of the 2025-26 season, while Thompson’s deal expires before the 2024-25 campaign.
Much has changed in the NBA landscape since Klay Thompson went down with his injuries, but his return could re-introduce the league to its old nightmare that is the Warriors.