Report: Klay Thompson’s long-awaited return may finally have a date

Klay Thompson’s eagerly anticipated return to the Warriors may happen a little sooner than expected.

The Warriors’ star now appears on track to possibly play as soon as Dec. 20 against Sacramento at Chase Center, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported. Warriors officials had loosely set Christmas time as the earliest possible target date for Thompson’s return, after ACL and Achilles injuries sidelined him the past two seasons.

Sources told Wojnarowski that Thompson is making “really good progress” and that should his rehab continue to go smoothly the Warriors will set a target date for his return in a couple of weeks.

“The hope is, they’ll have him back perhaps prior to Christmas,” Wojnarowski said.

Thompson, who hasn’t played since leaving Game 6 of the 2019 NBA Finals with an ACL injury, has been ramping up his workouts and has appeared on the court in full uniform prior to games. From all appearances, Thompson’s still the same lights-out shooter who became a five-time All-Star and two-time All-NBA guard.

When the Warriors leave Dec. 9 on a five-game East Coast road trip, the expectation is that Thompson would continue his workouts with the G League Santa Cruz Warriors, Wojnarowski said. There’s a belief that Thompson could play for Santa Cruz on Dec. 17, when it hosts the G League Ignite from Walnut Creek.

The Warriors would return from their trip to play Sacramento on Monday, Dec. 20. Fans looking to get a jump on tickets for Klay’s return, may want to look into investing in tickets for that game.

It would be Thompson’s first game in 921 days, and it would be the most emotional night for the Warriors and their fans in many years.

The Warriors have been adamant that when Thompson does make his season debut, it will be at home. If Thompson wasn’t back on Dec. 20, then he’d likely be back three days later, Dec. 23, when the Memphis Grizzlies come to town.

It’s tempting to visualize Thompson picking up where he left off 921 days ago during the NBA Finals, when he scored 26.0 points while burying 59 percent of his 3-point attempts, but that wouldn’t be fair.

“I want to keep my expectations for Klay coming back extremely low,” Draymond Green said on “The Jim Rome Show.” “What I expect from Klay is simply to cause and put a lot of fear into opposing teams’ hearts.”

Asking for anything more, Green said, is a bit presumptuous.

“To try to put some expectations on a guy coming back from an ACL injury that was followed by an Achilles injury, I think is wrong,” Green said. “I think we all see that this team has potential to possibly make a run, and we all want Klay back and just expect him to come back as Klay Thompson as if he didn’t just have two possibly career-ending injuries.

“For me as his teammate, as his brother, as a leader of this team, my expectations are extremely low. And not because I don’t respect Klay Thompson and know what he brings to the table, but moreso that I know everybody’s expecting and going to put the pressure on Klay Thompson to be the Klay Thompson of old right away.”

Green went on to say if anyone could come back as good as ever, it would be Thompson. But, he cautioned, “let him do it on his own terms, and not us forcing him and wanting him to be something he may not be able to be right away.”

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