After missing two consecutive seasons with ACL and Achilles tears, Golden State Warriors star Klay Thompson is expected to return on Sunday against the Cleveland Cavaliers at Chase Center, sources tell The Athletic.
The final clearance and official announcement are likely to come from the Warriors and Thompson on Saturday, sources said. Throughout this final week of preparations toward his return, the guard has gained momentum for a comeback Sunday — which marks exactly 941 days since the three-time champion played in an NBA game.
Thompson suffered a torn left ACL in Game 6 of the 2019 NBA Finals and rehabilitated to full strength while missing the 2019-20 season. He then suffered a torn Achilles tendon in a pickup game in November 2020, sidelining him for the entire 2020-21 season. Now, after a rehab process that included caution and care from Thompson and the Warriors’ training staff headed by director of sports medicine and performance Rick Celebrini, the five-time All-Star is set to make his return to the NBA floor.
Thompson has been scrimmaging unrestrained since mid-November, slowly increasing his on-court minute increments to build up his endurance. The most important milestone came last week when Thompson participated in a full-speed scrimmage with the Warriors’ starters during an unplanned night practice in Denver after their game against the Nuggets was postponed.
Reports out of that scrimmage were positive. Steph Curry said Thompson got up 17 shots in 12 minutes. Andre Iguodala said he connected with Thompson on several buckets.
“Being out there, going up and down with the first unit,” Thompson said. “That was a big moment for me.”
Warriors coach Steve Kerr said he expects Thompson to start and play 15 to 20 minutes in his return and that he will likely rest on one side of back-to-backs as he finds his rhythm. The Warriors host Cleveland at 8:30 p.m. ET on Sunday. The game will air on NBA TV as well as local broadcasts.
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