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Klay Thompson feels “very close” to returning, likely targeting a January home game

Warriors SG is working his way back from a second knee surgery after missing his second straight season in a row. We check in on where he’s at and when he may return.

Klay Thompson #11 of the Golden State Warriors shoots the ball during an open practice on October 7, 2021 at the Oracle Performance Center in San Francisco, California. Photo by Noah Graham/NBAE via Getty Images

The last time we saw Klay Thompson in an NBA game was during Game 6 of the 2019 NBA Finals between the Golden State Warriors and Toronto Raptors in which he suffered a torn ACL. Thompson missed the following season as he rehabbed, but then ruptured his Achilles in an offseason pickup game prior to the 2020/21 season.

Klay Thompson injury updates

December 31 update: Thompson said he feels “very close” to coming back to the court. He wants to do it in front of home fans, so any January game at the Chase Center is on the books for his return.

December 25 update: Thompson is targeting a January return but he is participating in drills and looks good moving around.

December 17 update: The Warriors and Thompson are targeting a January return, with a January 9 home game against Cleveland being the most likely first chance for the shooting guard to get back. Golden State hasn’t ruled out a Jan. 3 game but it is considered unlikely per Adrian Wojnarowski.

December 15 update: The Warriors officially recalled Klay Thompson and James Wiseman from the Santa Cruz Warriors, signaling both are close to returning to the court for the big club.

December 3 update: Thompson put up shots ahead of Friday’s game against the Suns. He’s not cleared to return to action yet but he looks like he could suit up.

December 3 update: Thompson said he hopes to be back “in a few weeks”, which aligns with every timeline the Warriors and various reporters have placed on his return. This is all leading up to Thompson making his 2021-22 season debut on Christmas Day against the Suns.

November 28 update: Thompson has been assigned to Golden State’s G-League affiliate, according to Marc Spears. The guard is close to returning to the team, with several prominent media members suggesting a Christmas return is likely.

After missing his second straight season to rehab from surgery, Thompson has widely been expected to return to the court around Christmas time this season. However, Shams Charania of The Athletic has reported that Thompson is expected to be cleared for full-contact practices within a month.

Klay Thompson’s debut will depend on how long he’ll need to go through full-contact practices before being deemed ready to go. Until that day comes, Stephen Curry will have to do Steph things, and Draymond will have to figure out how to get everyone else involved in the offense. Another player to keep an eye on is Jordan Poole, whose opportunities should skyrocket. Poole showed flashes last season as a scorer but has looked like a legitimate scoring option for the Warriors throughout the preseason. His +2000 odds of winning Sixth Man of the Year leave him with top-10 odds over at DraftKings Sportsbook.

Warriors vs. Clippers takeaways

This was a very different performance from the Warriors than in the opener vs. the Lakers. Instead of a balanced attack, it was all Steph. The All-Star MVP candidate dropped 25 of his 45 points in the first quarter. The Clippers were down by as much as 20 points, but were able to rally back and almost win the game. A clutch 3-pointer from Steph with under 1:00 to go in the fourth helped seal the victory.

Draymond Green and Andrew Wiggins both saw over 30 minutes. Damion Lee got a bunch of run off the bench again. Nemanja Bjelica wasn’t used as heavily while Andre Iguodala and Otto Porter got some more playing time off the bench. This may be the norm. One thing is for sure, Kevon Looney isn’t a long-term option at center. This could bode well for James Wiseman when he returns.

Warriors vs. Lakers takeaways

The Dubs took down the Lakers in Game 1 of the season 121-114 on the road on Tuesday night. Stephen Curry had a triple-double with 21 points, 10 boards and 10 assists. Draymond Green and Andrew Wiggins were supposed to be on minutes restrictions, but Dray played 30 and Wiggins played 26 in the win.

As for the rotation without Klay, Damion Lee and Nemanja Bjelica got a lot of run off the bench. Steve Kerr used five rotation players off the bench, so this sort of minutes allotment could change game-to-game. Kerr is clearly going to favor a lineup with Green playing center and Bjelica at the 4 to spread the floor better. Lee and Bjelica have the early edge in terms of players who will benefit from Thompson being out for now. Jordan Poole also has a lot of hype this season. He played 25 minutes, scoring 20 points on 4-of-11 shooting from outside.