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Klay Thompson reportedly could be cleared to practice in a month; return still December or later

Can the Lakers afford to get off to a slow start given the average age on the roster? Will Carmelo Anthony's defense be a liability? Vincent Goodwill previews expectations for this season in the NBA's Western Conference.

The original hope was Klay Thompson would return to the Warriors around Christmas, but recent buzz out of the Bay Area suggests more like January. There remains no official timeline for his return.

The good news is Thompson could start practicing with the Warriors next month, reports Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium, but that does not change the return timeline, he adds.

As Charania notes, the Warriors will take it slow with Thompson’s return as he comes off two major injuries, a torn ACL and a ruptured Achilles. Even when he returns to games, there will be a strict minutes limit at first that will climb as he shows he can handle it.

That said, no question Thompson is putting in the work — and dressing up like Jackie Moon while doing it. He is said to be making good progress.

The goal is to have All-NBA level Thompson by the start of the playoffs in April.