How Klay's return benefited from order of major injuries


Klay Thompson hasn't played in an NBA game in over two years, as two major lower-body injuries have kept the sharpshooter off the floor since June 13, 2019. One medical expert, in speaking to USA Today, believes that the order in which Thompson's injuries occurred give him a better chance at recovery than it would be the other way around.

“I think it would be harder for a player to come back from rupturing their Achilles first and then tearing their ACL second as opposed to how Klay’s injury was,” Dr. Jonathan Kaplan told USA Today about Thompson (h/t ClutchPoints). “The Achilles tends to be the harder injury to come back from, tends to take a lot more rehab from and can be set back by a knee injury. Because Klay tore his Achilles tendon last, it gives him more time to recover and gives him a better ability to adapt.”

Kaplan is a foot and ankle specialist with the Hoag Orthopedic Institute in Southern California. 

Thompson's Achilles tear came in November 2020, just before the 2020 NBA Draft. There hasn't been consensus on when Thompson might be able to return to the court at full speed, with December or January being the most consistent reports.

It's hard to imagine that Thompson's shooting will be much worse when he gets back on the floor, as much of the mechanics on his shot likely haven't changed as he recovers. Thompson was a stalwart defender before the injuries, however, and it remains to be seen how proficient he will be after two major lower-body surgeries.

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The Warriors have been extremely cautious with Thompson's recovery, but as we've seen from his social media activity and occasional interviews, he is itching to get back on the floor. Thompson's love of basketball never has been questioned, and was evident during his appearances on the bench with his Warriors teammates over the past two years.

General manager Bob Myers told reporters several months ago that the Warriors' ceiling likely would hinge on how effective Thompson can be in his return. If Thompson can replicate what he was before the two major injuries, the Warriors will be among the most dangerous teams in the NBA next season.

No matter what, Warriors fans simply will be elated to once again see No. 11 knock down a jump shot in a live game after such an extended absence.

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