When Klay Thompson returns to Warriors is question that can't be answered now

When Klay Thompson returns to Warriors is question that can't be answered now

Editor’s note: Kerith Burke, NBC Sports Bay Area’s Warriors reporter, will take you inside the Dubs as only she can each Friday with the Ask Kerith Mailbag. Send her a question on Twitter or Instagram using the hashtag #askkerith


The NBA season is here! Last night, the Warriors opened against the Clippers in a 14-0 hole. It’s tough to recover from that, even though the Warriors did get the score within four and the young guys settled in. The Clippers scored 46 points in the third quarter and won 141-122, illustrating something the Warriors will have to prioritize all season: defensive intensity.

Draymond Green left and came back with a forearm injury, and Kevon Looney missed the second half with right hamstring tightness. The health of the team could make for fragile moments this season. ...

A big story that broke earlier this week: Warriors coach Steve Kerr told NBC Sports Bay Area's Logan Murdock that it’s "unlikely" Klay Thompson will play this season.

Kerr mentioned April is the nine-month mark for Klay’s recovery from his torn ACL. Kerr believes a year is more reasonable, based on his experience as a player with the same injury and medical advice.

Let’s get specific. Klay tore his left ACL on June 13, during Game 6 of the NBA Finals. He had surgery on July 2. April 13 would mark nine months from the injury. The Warriors play that night versus Portland, and the final game of the regular season is April 15 at Sacramento. Will the Warriors be in the playoff hunt? Will Klay push to play?

Klay will want to be a part of the playoffs if the Warriors make it. I think they will, provided there are no long-term injuries to anyone else. I dislike talking about injuries. Although they’re inevitable, it feels like speaking something negative into existence.

But nine months is pretty quick. And even if Klay wants to play, the medical staff will have the final say. I think the Warriors will feel good about an abundance of caution when it comes to a player whom they gave a five-year, $190 million max deal in the offseason. He’s part of the bedrock of the team’s long-term vision, and Klay wants to retire a Warrior. They trust each other to do right by each other.

I'm not a doctor, nor do I know the details of Klay’s situation, but I will share something my physical therapist told me when I recovered from an ACL tear. The risk of re-injury is higher in that first year. Knee injuries are serious, and they can result in strength imbalances elsewhere in the body as you compensate for weakness during your recovery.

Giving Klay even more time to heal is a good thing. If he has to wait to play until next season’s training camp, that’s about 14 months of recovery. It’s a frustrating situation for this season, but it's a positive for his health overall.

Game On!

@BobHollas What can we expect from Klay when he returns to the warriors from his injury? #AskKerith

Expect a rested, healthy, hungry Klay. The fact that the Warriors made five consecutive Finals adds up to an extra season of strenuous play on the legs. This injury means Klay is forced to take a break to recover. There’s an upside to this crummy situation.

For any serious injury, don’t forget the mental aspect. Klay is a mentally strong guy. He’ll still have to battle boredom, frustration and longing. He has been in the mix with the team at practice, but I suspect some sadness will sink in when he’s not starting alongside his teammates. No one likes to miss out.

Rehab workouts get repetitive. You cannot speed up time, either. When Klay gets through his injury and can take the court again at full strength, watch out. When something you love is taken away, your gratefulness when it returns grows tenfold.

@josh_abbs How are you liking Steph Curry as MVP this season? #AskKerith

I think it’s possible, given the load Steph will have to assume. I understand why the focus is on offense for this conversation, considering Steph probably will be the biggest scorer and playmaker.

But consider the way he’ll have to dial up the defense, too. Klay guarded the opponent’s best player in the front court. Now there’s no Klay. Last season, Steph talked about his reaching fouls. Expect attention on those and even more devotion to that side of the ball.

My philosophy for MVP is “the player who is most essential to their team’s wins.” Few players will be as essential across the league as Steph.

IG: @alopez95340 What’s your opinion of MJ’s declaration that Steph isn’t a HOF yet?

@TheSFGiantsGuy Do you think Steph Curry is a HOFer?

Steph is for sure a Hall of Famer with two MVPs (one unanimously!) and three championships. But was Michael Jordan speaking on a technicality? Was there a yet in there because Steph is still an active player? Magic Johnson believes so. Here’s his explanation.

Kerr had a laugh and said MJ’s version of the Hall of Fame is the one in his head.

@JoeSouza8 Do you see the Warriors making a move for a big man anytime in the near future?

No. Their move was picking Marquese Chriss over Alfonzo McKinnie. Kerr said Chriss is more of a four, but they’re asking him to play the five.

With Kevon Looney and Willie Cauley-Stein, plus some center-by-committee minutes from other guys, the Warriors probably are done looking for bigs and instead are turning their attention to wings.

IG @paulfreakingji What are you most excited for this season?

The newness. The need for evolution. In addition to the opening of Chase Center and the specialness of covering Year 1 in the building, I’m interested to see how the Warriors shape-shift this season to keep success alive.

Seeing how the chemistry develops and whether the Warriors can get the most out of every player is a puzzle to solve.

If the Warriors want to follow the Spurs' blueprint and sustain success, which is hard to do, this is a season in which it’ll take some creativity.

IG @rray28 Favorite place you visited in the off season?

Italy! My husband and I went to Rome, Florence, Vernazza, Lake Como and Gorgonzola. Vernazza was the best part -- small and picturesque. It’s a coastal city, part of the Cinque Terre.

We ate mounds of cheese and prosciutto, the freshest I’ve ever tasted. I’m not a big wine person, but it was flowing.

My favorite meal overall was pizza at Dar Poeta. As this review explains, “(This) pizza will make the indignity of tourism worth it.” It was DELICIOUS.

My husband’s parents joined us at Dar Poeta, and we ordered three bruschetta appetizers, four pizzas, two liters of wine, and chocolate mousse. The entire bill was 64 euro. That’s about $72.

High Five

The Warriors got the best sports couple of all time, Sue Bird and Megan Rapinoe, for a postgame panel on Oct. 30.

They’ll join Hall of Famer Rick Welts on the panel, which will start about 20 minutes after the game.

Follow Kerith on Twitter @KerithBurke and on Instagram @warriorskerith, and, of course, watch her on NBC Sports Bay Area’s Warriors coverage all season.

Steph Curry, daughters soak in Sabrina Ionescu’s latest triple-double

Steph Curry, daughters soak in Sabrina Ionescu’s latest triple-double

Steph Curry has followed Sabrina Ionescu since her junior year of high school in Orinda. So naturally, when the University of Oregon basketball star returned to the Bay for the final time in her collegiate career Friday night, the Warriors star went to Haas Pavilion to watch her and the Ducks face the Cal Bears.

After Ionescu registered her seventh of the season and the 25th triple-double of her career in Oregon's 93-61 win, GOAT met GOAT, along with two special guests -- Curry's daughters, Riley and Ryan.

Curry clearly is a fan of Ionescu, who dropped 17 points, 11 rebounds and 11 assists in Berkeley. She is nine rebounds away from becoming college basketball’s first 2,000-point, 1,000-rebound, 1,000-assist player.

"Everything," Curry told Pac-12 Network's Kate Scott when asked what has impressed him about Ionescu since he first learned of her. "It's hard to pick one thing. Just her passion for the game, her leadership. She has got that winning mentality, and every night, she just appreciates being out on the floor and bringing it.

"She makes her teammates better but still plays her own game. The triple-doubles are nice, too, but she just has it all."

"Stats, they mean a lot," Curry added, "but when you get to watch somebody -- and, like I said, the passion that she brings, it's in her eyes. The competitive nature that she has, you can't teach that. She could be blessed with all the talent in the world, but if she didn't have that, she wouldn't be who she was."

Curry had great seats on the baseline at Haas, but he wasn't alone. He had his two daughters taking it all in with him.

"This is a pretty awesome experience," Curry said of being there with his daughters. "This is their first women's basketball game, so I'm excited to share that with them. Riley has been asking about it all day. 'When are we going? When are we going?' So, hopefully Sabrina teaches her something."

Curry isn't certain his daughters will follow in his own footsteps, but he believes they can learn plenty from Ionescu, both on and off the court.

"I think it's important in terms of role models that they can look up to," Curry described the gravity of Ionescu's impact. "I don't know if they're going to play basketball or not, but if they do, then I'm definitely going to put on some Sabrina clips and let them know this is how you play the game the right way."

[RELATEDAsk Kerith: What's the benefit of allowing Steph to play?]

Steph won't have to search long for those clips. As impressive as she has been, Ionescu is just getting started.

Mic'd-up Ky Bowman brings fun, passion to recent Santa Cruz Warriors practice

Mic'd-up Ky Bowman brings fun, passion to recent Santa Cruz Warriors practice

The Warriors are in the midst of one of the worst seasons in franchise history, currently averaging nearly four losses for every win. They only have two winning "streaks" so far, and in the face of constant losing, it would be completely understandable if the team's morale suffered.

Yes, there have been extended periods throughout the course of the season during which Golden State has hung its heads. After all, this is a stark contrast to the reality the franchise has recently become used to. But, thanks to an influx of new players, most of which are young and fighting for their NBA opportunities, the Warriors have managed to have plenty of fun amid all the losses.

Given what Ky Bowman said while mic'd up at a recent Santa Cruz Warriors practice, and it's easy to see why.

Have a look for yourself in the video at the top of the page.

He doesn't ever seem to slow down or stop talking, and it sure looks like his enthusiasm is contagious. Bowman has gone back and forth between Golden State and Santa Cruz this year, and he brings that lively spirit with him wherever he goes.

Thanks to his own determination, the hope is that he won't be making that trip much more often. After going undrafted in the 2019 NBA Draft, Bowman signed a two-way deal with Golden State. However, he outperformed that, and the Warriors signed him to a standard, multi-year NBA contract on Feb. 7.

[RELATED: Ask Kerith: What's the benefit of allowing Steph to play?]

Bowman appears to be a part of the Warriors' future, which should include plenty more laughs.