For the first time this season, Klay Thompson will be on the Warriors' team plane.
The star guard will travel with Golden State to Texas on its upcoming trip to take on the Dallas Mavericks and San Antonio Spurs, according to The Athletic's Anthony Slater.
Thompson was on the team's plane when it departed Wednesday, just shy of two months since tearing his Achilles tendon in November. Although Thompson will miss the season for the second straight year, coach Steve Kerr has repeatedly advocated for Thompson to spend time around the team as he rehabs through his injury, believing it will serve as a two-way morale booster.
That couldn't come at a more dire time for the Warriors.
Golden State announced Wednesday center Kevon Looney will be out at least two weeks after the big man sprained his left ankle in the first half of the Warriors' 111-107 loss to the Boston Celtics on Tuesday at Chase Center. Rookie James Wiseman, who has started 16 of the Warriors' 21 games, also is out with a sprained left wrist and isn't expected to play in any of the four games on the road trip.
This means the Warriors will be without a true center for a while, as Marquese Chriss suffered a broken leg in the first week of the season and will miss the remainder of the year. Golden State will rely on small-ball center Eric Paschall and Draymond Green to share the bulk of the duties. Juan Toscano-Anderson, who shined in Tuesday's contest, likely will also see a large intake of minutes.
Thompson's presence behind the Warriors' bench should bring some positive energy back to the team. He already has watched a handful of home games in person, and even appeared as a guest reporter on NBC Sports Bay Area's broadcast of Golden State's 118-91 rout over the Detroit Pistons on Saturday.
The Warriors should be able to handle the Mavericks (8-13) but the Spurs (11-10) will present a challenge, especially with Golden State being short-handed. While the Warriors wish Thompson could suit up now, having him supporting the team on the road is the next best thing.