The Warriors have managed an NBA-best 15-2 record so far this season without two of their key players.
One of which is Klay Thompson, who is nearing a possible late-December return. The other is 20-year-old center James Wiseman, who is recovering from a torn meniscus sustained in April of last season.
Following Wiseman's injury in mid-April, the Warriors were hoping that he could return in time for training camp ahead of the 2021-22 NBA season.
Wiseman, who is now two months past the Warriors' initial timeline, is continuing to rehab at a slower pace, and coach Steve Kerr explained why after the Warriors' practice Tuesday afternoon.
"The injury (the meniscus tear) is an injury where it's not really a linear improvement like an ACL or an Achilles where you can map it out," Kerr told reporters. "A meniscal tear you can't really map out as easily because there's more possibility for a variance in how long it's going to take to recover.
"James is doing fine, there's no structural issue. We're just being very very cautious. He's doing more and more 2-on-2 stuff, drill work. But [Director of Sports Medicine Rick Celebrini] is not yet comfortable allowing him to scrimmage. We're just trying to stay patient and do the best thing we can for James. He's such a young guy and we want to be very cautious with his injury."
The initial timeline appears to have been rather optimistic. Kerr and the Warriors have since learned a lot more about the varying degrees of meniscus injuries. which has led to a more cautious approach with the No. 2 pick in the 2020 NBA Draft.
"The biggest thing to me, and I figured this question would start coming up because when he had the injury last season, we talked about him being ready for camp. That's obviously two months behind us. I didn't understand much about the meniscus injury at the time, so I probably said several times last year 'yeah, we're hoping he's back for camp or shortly thereafter.' Now that I've learned more about it, there's just varying degrees on timeframes of recoveries from this kind of injury. He's obviously a massive guy with a lot of weight that's coming down on that knee. So we're just being very very cautious."
Just two weeks ago, Kerr was hopeful that Wiseman could return sometime around Thanksgiving. That no longer appears to be the case, which means the Warriors could be getting both Wiseman and Thompson back around the same time.
Already the best team in the NBA, the Warriors could be getting a whole lot better in the next few weeks.