After consecutive season-ending injuries forced Warriors’ guard Klay Thompson to miss over two years of basketball, the 3x champion and fan favorite is set to make his much-anticipated return to the hardwood.
By Ryan Ford
The Golden State Warriors are one of the best teams in basketball, sporting a 29-9 record as we near the halfway mark of the 2021-22 campaign. Unfortunately for the rest of the NBA, they aren’t even at full strength yet.
On Sunday, January 9th, Klay Thompson is set to return to the court during Golden State’s matchup against the Cleveland Cavaliers. It will have been 941 days since Klay last appeared in an NBA game, with that last game taking place during the 2019 NBA Finals.
The 5-time All-Star confirmed the return when he posted on Instagram, “IM SO EXCITED TO SEE YALL DUBNATION ! LETS GET IT.” The announcement comes after over 2 years of rehabbing significant injuries.
In game 6 of the 2019 NBA finals, Klay landed awkwardly after getting fouled attempting a fastbreak dunk. He grabbed his left knee instantly, rolling around on the ground grimacing in pain. Thompson would miss all the next season recovering from a torn ACL, but there was optimism that he would be back at 100% a little over a year later.
Unfortunately, to call what happened next a “setback” would be an understatement. Klay suffered another injury during a workout only weeks before the start of the 2020-21 season.
The diagnosis? A torn Achilles tendon, this time in his right leg. Another season was over before it began.
It is hard enough to come back from one major injury in professional sports, but suffering a second significant injury in 17 months is a career-ender for most. Luckily for basketball fans, Klay’s long-awaited return is finally here.
In what will undoubtedly be an emotional day for Thompson he will likely be playing on a minutes restriction. In his last full season back in 2018-19, Klay averaged 21.5 points per game while shooting 40.2% from beyond-the-arc and was named to the All-Defensive team.
All eyes will be on Klay’s return, and it is unclear if he will be able to pick up where he left off as one of the best two-way players in the NBA. But if Klay can get back to even 80% of what he was pre-injury, the Golden State Warriors led by MVP candidate Stephen Curry will become the prohibitive favorites in the West.
Melanie Moyer '22,