Warriors

Myers unsure Klay returning for Warriors' opener 'realistic'

Warriors

Klay Thompson's availability for the start of the Warriors' 2021-22 season remains unclear, general manager Bob Myers told reporters on Monday.

"I don't know that it will be the start of the year, we'll see more as camp gets closer. When I say start of the year I mean Game 1, I don't know if that's realistic or not," Myers said during his end-of-season media availability. "What we're focused on is when do we expect Klay to be Klay, and I don't know if that will be January, February, March, it's too early to say.

"We're not going to throw him out there if he's not ready, and he's doing everything he can to get back. I want to talk about Klay a lot, but I'm reluctant because I don't want to use that as an excuse. I don't want people to think 'well when Klay comes back everything is going to be great.' As great as he is and it will help a lot, we have to look at our team and say, Klay will be a huge addition but there's other areas where we need to improve on as well, but I don't know when exactly it will be."

Thompson hasn't seen live game action since June 13, 2019, when the Warriors lost Game 6 of the NBA Finals to the Toronto Raptors. After working his way back from a torn ACL, Thompson tore his Achilles tendon in November, just a few weeks before the 2020-21 season was set to begin.

 

Now 31 years old, it remains to be seen how close Thompson can get to the player he was before the two major lower-body injuries, a five-time All-Star and two-time All-NBA player.

The Warriors haven't looked like the same team in the two seasons while Thompson has been on the shelf, although one of those campaigns also only featured five games of Steph Curry and a depleted Draymond Green.

Myers understandably wants to temper expectations, especially as he and the Warriors look to address other needs along the roster.

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Thompson has been hard at work rehabbing his Achilles, and his father Mychal is confident his son will be the same player after he returns to the court.

"Physically he's going to come around," Mychal Thompson told Cory Hepola of WCCO 830 in Minnesota. "He's got to be patient and do his rehab. He's encouraged to see how Kevin Durant, John Wall, DeMarcus Cousins and Wesley Matthews, players like those guys who have suffered the Achilles injury and have come back 100 percent and as good as ever. He's also dealing with his knee, but his knee is fine. That gave him no problem and then he tore his Achilles during a workout.

"Physically, he's going to be fine, but emotionally is where it's tough. Mentally, having to sit out two straight years with a major injury when he's in his prime. That's very frustrating. I tell you one thing, it makes you appreciate being healthy and appreciate your job, even more, when you can't play for two straight years. He'll be back next year this time and he and Steph Curry will pick up right where they left off."

Regardless, Thompson's return will thrust the Warriors back among the Western Conference's top contenders, at least as far as expectations across the league.

If Thompson can be close to the elite player he was before the injuries, and the rest of the Warriors' core comes back as strong as it did in 2020-21, this should be a team in contention for a championship.

As Myers emphasized, however, it might not be realistic to expect Thompson back for the Warriors' regular-season opener.

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