While the Warriors publicly aren't circling any dates on the calendar for Klay Thompson's return from two major low leg injuries, it appears that privately they are doing just that.
ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported Friday, citing sources, that the Warriors and Thompson are targeting two home games in January for his first game in more than two and a half years: Jan. 9 vs. the Cleveland Cavaliers and Jan. 18 vs. the Detroit Pistons.
Wojnarowski also reported that the Warriors' Jan. 3 game against the Miami Heat "hasn't been ruled out, but is considered less likely."
The Warriors announced earlier on Friday that Thompson remains on-schedule and that the final stages of his rehab will be conducted with the team in Bay Area, not with the G League Santa Cruz Warriors.
The Athletic's Shams Charania and Anthony Slater reported Thursday, citing sources, that the Warriors had ruled out Thompson returning next week before the Christmas holiday, and said Dec. 28 was the earliest possible return date. But based on the reporting by Wojnarowski, that game against Denver can now be ruled out.
While the Warriors are on a five-game east coast road trip, Thompson spent time practicing with Santa Cruz. He was recalled Wednesday, along with rehabbing center James Wiseman.
On Dec. 3, Wojnarowski reported that he spoke to Thompson's agent, Greg Lawrence with Wasserman Media, who said the five-time NBA All-Star had the ability to play 25-30 minutes in an NBA game at that moment, but he wanted to be in peak conditioning before finally playing in a game.
"Right now, as Lawrence said to me, he could play 25-30 minutes in an NBA game," Wojnarowski said two weeks ago. "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."
That could explain why Thompson's reported return date now is January, as opposed to late December.
Thompson hasn't played in an NBA contest since Game 6 of the 2019 NBA Finals on June 13, 2019.