While the countdown to Klay Thompson's first game in two and a half years hasn't officially started because no return date has been announced yet, the anticipation is growing as the five-time NBA All-Star moves closer to playing in games.
Thompson, who has been rehabbing two major lower leg injuries for the last 29-plus months, provided an update on when he might finally play in a game for the Warriors while driving his boat on the San Francisco Bay to Chase Center on Friday.
"When am I going to be back?" Thompson said as he read a question during an Instagram Live session. "Hopefully within the next few weeks. Man, that would be really nice. Maybe a month. I don't know. It's hard to gauge."
Thompson, coming off a torn right Achilles sustained on Nov. 18, 2020, has been cleared to practice with the Warriors and recently scrimmaged with the G League Santa Cruz Warriors, where he hit a game-winning 3-pointer.
While the Warriors haven't announced exactly when Thompson will make his long-awaited return, much of the reporting in recent weeks and months has been that he will play in his first game around Christmas, and ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reiterated that Friday during ESPN's "NBA Countdown."
"The timeline for Klay Thompson remains largely the same," Wojnarowski said. "Either Dec. 20, [Dec.] 23 ahead of Christmas or perhaps just after Christmas."
Interestingly, Wojnarowski reported that per Thompson's agent, the shooting guard could play in NBA games right now, but that's not what Thompson wants.
"In talking to his agent, Greg Lawrence with Wasserman Media today, he brought up a great point about how Klay Thompson is handling his rehab," Wojnarowski said. "Right now, as Lawrence said to me, he could play 25-30 minutes in an NBA game. He's ready to do that. But what Klay wants to be able to do when he comes back is be conditioned at a very high level and jump into a Warriors team that he doesn't have to work himself back into great condition. He wants to be in great condition knowing there's going to be maybe 50-plus regular season games for him and perhaps as many as 20-plus postseason games with the championship aspirations of the Warriors.
"So Klay Thompson wants to be in great condition, and when you talk to people around the Warriors who have watched him four times a week scrimmaging with their G League team and with their team, he has really prepared himself not only to return to the NBA but for the NBA grind of a four-night-a-week schedule."
Thompson, who recently got emotional on the Warriors bench after a home game, lives and breathes to be on an NBA court, and several hours before the Warriors' game against the Phoenix Suns, he was on the floor at Chase Center going through shooting drills while in full uniform.
Thompson's return is in sight and his first game back could be the perfect Christmas present for Dub Nation and NBA fans everywhere.