Just like everyone else, Draymond Green is excited for Klay Thompson to make his Warriors return. Whenever that might be.
Green has been impressed with how Thompson has looked as he makes his way back from a torn Achilles, the Warriors forward is doing his best not to focus on "when" Thompson will return.
“I’m not going to get my hopes up to get let down, and I hope you don’t either," Green said Thursday at Warriors shootaround when asked if he was anticipating Thompson's return when Golden State gets back from the road trip. "To be quite honest with you, I know just as much about Klay’s return as you do. And that’s nothing. We know he’s returning at some point and that’s about all I know. The same reports you read like Christmas Day before Christmas Day is the same reports I read. That’s kind of how it’s gone.
"So I just kind of stay here, stay focused, try not to anticipate that, try to let him work on his own terms. One thing I know about being hurt … you start to feel the anticipation of everyone around you in the circle when that starts to mount up, and the reality is that I don’t think he should feel that. I don’t really think that’s fair to him and his process, his mentals. He may not be ready mentally, right? His body can be great but is he ready tomorrow mentally? He could not be. So I don’t want him to feel that anxiety and that pressure that I know comes with it when everybody’s looking like, “Oh man, he about to be back. Hey Klay, you back?’ That anxiety, it adds up and it weighs on you. So, no, I’m not anticipating it all but I am very excited about it. When they set a date, I’ll anticipate that date. Until then, I try to keep my hopes very even-keeled."
The Warriors will face the Boston Celtics on Friday and the Toronto Raptors on Saturday before returning to the Bay to face the Sacramento Kings on Monday.
Thompson didn't accompany the Warriors on their five-game road trip, staying back and ramping up his scrimmages with the Santa Cruz Warriors.
For Green, it's easier to not think about Thompson's impending return when they don't have to watch the five-time All-Star light it up at practice.
“Absolutely, because when you see him every day he looks good," Green said. "So when you see him every day it’s like, ‘Oh man, Klay look good.’ And you’re like, ‘Yo, you see Klay?’ So not being around him, it helps. But the reality is then you’re not around him for seven days and then you come back and he looks even better than he did a week ago and then you’re back on edge. So I try to stay away from it.”
Warriors president of basketball operations Bob Myers told 95.7 The Game on Tuesday that the Warriors have not discussed an exact date for Thompson's return. The Athletic's Shams Charania and Anthony Slater reported Thursday that Thompson won't make his return before Christmas, meaning the earliest he could return will be Dec. 28 against the Denver Nuggets.
While Thompson's imminent return has given the Warriors some juice early in the season, the star guard's absence was felt Tuesday when he wasn't in attendance to celebrate Steph Curry passing Ray Allen as the NBA's all-time 3-point leader.
Thompson not being there for Curry's moment was the only blemish on an otherwise perfect night for the Warriors.
"The missing piece of last night was Klay and his presence, what he has meant to the Warriors, what he’s meant to Steph’s career, what he’s meant to the 3-point shot in the evolution of the NBA game," coach Steve Kerr told 95.7 The Game on Wednesday. "Klay should have been there. I thought about him a lot last night. It just bummed out just thinking about how much he has lost the past couple years. Not just in terms of games played, but experiences with his teammates.
"Last night was a special moment. I know he would have loved to have been there. The fact that he missed it is painful for him. We can’t wait to get him back. That’s going to be the next special moment in this season."
Thompson's return gets closer by the day. Everyone can feel it. The Warriors will soon be made whole again, something that is almost 1,000 days in the making.