Prior to the Warriors' game against the Denver Nuggets at Chase Center on Tuesday, coach Steve Kerr told reporters he wasn't sure if rehabbing shooting guard Klay Thompson would travel with the team on their two-game road trip to Denver and Utah because of the spike in COVID-19 cases around the league.
Not only did Thompson travel with the team, but he achieved a pretty big milestone Thursday after the Warriors' game against the Nuggets was postponed because of a COVID outbreak among Denver players and coaches: The five-time NBA All-Star scrimmaged with Steph Curry, Andrew Wiggins and the rest of Golden State's top players, something he had yet to do during his recovery from a torn right Achilles.
"We had a great scrimmage," Kerr told reporters after shootaround in Denver on Thursday (H/T The Athletic's Anthony Slater). "That's the first time Klay has scrimmaged with our first group. So that was really fun to watch, and helpful for Klay and our team. We got to work on some of our execution that we've been struggling with recently. So we turned it into a positive. It was a good practice.
"Great to get him minutes with all the guys. He hadn't scrimmaged with our main guys yet. Fun to see Steph and Klay back out on the court together, and Andre [Iguodala], [Kevon Looney] and Wiggs. Wiggs, [his] first time really playing with Klay. Obviously would have been nice to have Draymond here, but that will happen soon enough."
Green currently is in the NBA's health and safety protocol, so he isn't on the trip with the Warriors, and it's unclear when he will be cleared to return to the lineup.
As for Thompson, he is nearing his highly anticipated return. Kerr wouldn't reveal a potential first game back for Thompson, but the team reportedly is targeting home games on Jan. 9 against the Cleveland Cavaliers or Jan. 18 against the Detroit Pistons for his return. Their Jan. 3 home game against the Miami Heat is an option, ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported earlier this month, but isn't as likely.
Whenever Thompson does return, Kerr knows exactly how he plans to deploy the two-way star.
"Klay's going to start when he comes back," Kerr said Thursday. "I'm not going to mess around and bring him off the bench for a period of time. I'm not doing any of that. He's going to start. We'll see what that means in terms of the rest of the rotation. I know one thing. We've got a whole lot of guys who are capable of playing and being in the rotation and helping us win games.
"So it's not going to be easy. On the other hand, it's way better than the alternative. So I've got a lot of options. But there's not enough playing time to go around, so it'll be tricky, but it's a good problem to have."
It has been more than 30 months since Thompson and Curry have played in an NBA game together, but on Thursday, Warriors fans got a glimpse of the Splash Brothers shooting together on the court at Ball Arena in Denver, and Kerr had the pleasure of watching the longtime teammates scrimmage with each other.
"There were possessions where they were feeding off each other," Kerr said of Thompson and Curry. "It was fun to see. It's been over two years. Those guys have such a history together, and so for me, it was just fun to sit back and see them smiling on the court together."
Thompson's first game since June 13, 2019, is approaching, and Dub Nation can't wait to do what Kerr did Thursday: Sit back, watch Thompson play with Curry, Wiggins and the rest of the Warriors and simply smile.