If Klay Thompson takes the court for Opening Night of the 2021-22 season, he will be nearly two-and-a-half years removed from playing in a real NBA game.
The five-time NBA All-Star tore his left ACL in June 2019, and sustained a torn right Achilles tendon in November 2020.
Warriors radio analyst Jim Barnett has read articles that question whether Klay ever will be the same player again.
And he fully believes the three-time NBA champion will be back as strong as ever.
"I'm not worried," Barnett said Friday on "The TK Show" podcast with The Athletic's Tim Kawakami. "The way he plays -- he doesn't use his quickness. He's not a small guard running around everywhere. He plays rather straight up against bigger guys.
"I think he's gonna be as mobile as he was. And I guarantee he certainly is not gonna lose his shooting touch."
You gotta love Barnett's optimism, and when you look at the way Kevin Durant has recovered from his Achilles injury, there's reason to be very hopeful.
But it's also fair to wonder if Klay can be as effective defending some of the NBA's top lead guards. It's possible that he ends up guarding more small forwards than point guards upon his return.
And if that turns out to be the case, the Warriors will have to adjust their defensive strategy some.
Time will tell what happens on that front, as the road to recovery still is in the very early stages.
“All that he can do right now is just pool therapy, walking, stuff like that,” Klay's dad, Mychal, told NBC Sports Bay Area's Kerith Burke in an interview that will air during "Warriors Pregame Live" on Sunday. "He’s not going to be cleared to do any basketball activity for probably a couple months yet.
"It takes time with the Achilles. You’ve got to strengthen it and walk and get the tendon all [strong], but he’ll get there.”