Klay Thompson returns for first practice with Warriors after ACL tear in 2019 Finals

It took nearly 500 days, but Klay Thompson is finally back after tearing his ACL in the 2019 NBA Finals.

Thompson, who tore his left ACL in Game 6 of the Finals last year, was a full participant at practice for the Golden State Warriors on Friday.

"It was great to have him out on the floor, in the locker room," Warriors coach Steve Kerr said, via ESPN. "Just his presence alone gave us a jolt of energy and excitement. Practice went well. This is the first practice coming off an ACL injury and a year and a half absence so I didn't expect him to be in top shape, in top form, and he was not, but he moved well and it's a good first step."

‘Klay got a lot of good work in’

Thompson suffered a left ACL tear after landing awkwardly while trying to dunk in the NBA Finals last June, which kept him out of the entire 2020 season. Friday marked exactly 470 days since he first injured his knee.

Thompson’s injury marked the first of many for Golden State, as he was quickly followed by Kevin Durant’s Achilles tear and Steph Curry’s broken hand.

The 30-year-old averaged 21.5 points and 3.8 rebounds per game that season, his eighth in the league.

Thompson was cleared to resume workouts in June, though the Warriors weren’t permitted to begin holding team workouts until this week due to COVID-19 protocols.

“We haven’t had a 5-on-5 scrimmage yet,” Kerr said, via ESPN. “We’re trying to ease into it because of the long layoff. But Klay got a lot of good work in and I think he was able to gauge kind of where he is right now and what he needs to do going forward.”

While he has plenty of time left to get back to his old self — commissioner Adam Silver said he doesn’t think next season can start until January at the earliest — there were several signs the classic Thompson on Friday.

“He was kind of quiet. He did yawn really loudly when I was talking to the team, so nothing’s changed that much,” Kerr said, via ESPN. “Klay is Klay. So it was just great to have him out there.”

Golden State Warriors guard Klay Thompson
Klay Thompson returned to practice for the first time in 470 days after his ACL injury on Friday. (Steve Russell/Toronto Star/Getty Images)

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