The Golden State Warriors have played most of this season without household names Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson in the mix. Since suffering a torn ACL in his left knee injury in Game 6 of The 2019 Finals, Thompson was expected to be out until at least the All-Star break.
Thompson spoke with the media on Tuesday night during the Warriors’ 124-97 loss to the Mavericks, explaining that his rehabilitation process is going well, but that a return this season remains unknown.
“It’s going great,” Thompson said during Tuesday’s game against the Dallas Mavericks. “I mean, at least my suits are well tailored. And it’s fun to watch these guys battle. Obviously, I wish I could be out there. It’s been a long process. I haven’t stopped working since the third day after Game 6 of the 2019 Finals. You might not see me a lot, but I’m working. I don’t know what’s going to come this season, I would love to get out there.
“I appreciate the Warrior fans showing up every night in Chase [Center], just a testament to the fan base we have. They know it’s been a tough season, but they know the future’s bright — so it’s actually nice to be here. I haven’t seen you guys [media] in a long time. You’re welcome for me being here today. I just kind of miss — I know it’s a tough part of the season. It’s very rare for me not to be grinding through it with them, but I’m trying to make sure this type of injury never happens to me again, so I’ll be very patient because I want to play at a high level ’til my late 30s.”
Per ESPN’s Nick Friedell, there has always been some hope that Thompson would suit up this season. However, the team does not want to risk further injury to a player they signed to a max contract last summer and is critical to the next phase of success for Golden State. In late October, coach Steve Kerr said it was “unlikely” that Thompson would suit up at all this season.
Thompson, per Friedell, has spent some time rehabbing in Los Angeles and is starting to be around the Warriors’ practice facility more as his rehab ramps up. He has also been shooting with teammates after practices as well.
“More than anything it just feels good to see him out there,” Kerr said before Tuesday’s game, per Friedell. “And for him to feel it, like he’s actually closer. Even though he’s still a ways from being out on the floor, he’s so far along now compared to when this first started. So he’s pretty far down the path, so I think he’s starting to feel that. The routine is changing now. He’s on the court a lot more, and I’m asking him to be around our team a lot more. Both Steph [Curry] and Klay I’ve talked to about starting to be engaged and involved with the group. The new players need to get to know those guys and vice versa. And they give our young group some confidence just with their presence. So I think that’s all part of the next step here for both Steph and Klay.”
While Thompson has not played in a game this season, Curry did not fare much better in 2019-20. He was injured in the Warriors’ fourth game, suffering a broken left hand in the third quarter of a 121-110 loss to the Phoenix Suns. He had surgery on the injury in early November and has been out of the lineup ever since.
After making the last five Finals, the Warriors have struggled this season because of those injuries — and others — to their revamped roster. At 9-33, Golden State has the NBA’s worst record, having lost nine straight and 14 of its last 18 games overall.
Thompson will have his No. 1 jersey retired at Washington State on Saturday, traveling on owner Joe Lacob’s private plane to Pullman, Wash., for the halftime ceremony when the Cougars host Oregon State.
”I haven’t been back in about five years,” Thompson said. ”To go back and see the people I really grew up with, the community that really embraced me, it’s very nostalgic and it’s just really cool because that was a dream of mine leaving Pullman. I didn’t think it would ever come true and it did, so it’s exciting.”
Warriors forward Draymond Green recently had his jersey retired at Michigan State. Curry will be joining Thompson in Washington for the ceremony, which is something that delights Thompson.
“It’s really cool,” Thompson said of Curry’s attending. “We’ve been through a lot of highs together. A lot of lows. We’ve played at the highest level of the game as far as the NBA Finals and international competition. And he’s been my longest-tenured teammate, so I appreciate him coming. One day maybe I’ll make it out to Davidson, too, if he got to go get that degree.”
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.