Fifteen months and 12 days after he last joined the Warriors for significant basketball activity, Klay Thompson on Friday took his first steps to get back to the place of his bliss.
The five-time All-Star cleared NBA-mandated coronavirus (COVID-19) quarantine and was on the Chase Center practice court firing jump shots, defending and otherwise reacquainting himself with the competition he missed.
“Number one, it was just great to see him. It’s a sight for sore eyes,” coach Steve Kerr said. “It’s been 400 days since Klay last took part in a game for the Warriors, or even a practice, so it's been a long time coming. It's great to have him out on the floor in the locker room just his presence alone gave us a jolt of energy and excitement."
He’s not in midseason form, and that applies to nearly all of the Warriors, who haven’t played a game since March. Moreover, Thompson and his teammates have no idea when next season will begin.
“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, top form, and he was not,” Kerr said. “But he moved well and it's a good first step.
“Klay got a lot of good work in and I think he was able to gauge where he is right now and what he needs to do going forward.”
Thompson sustained a torn left ACL on June 13, 2019, in Game 6 of the NBA Finals against the Toronto Raptors. It was the last game the Warriors would play at Oracle Arena, and also the last day Thompson could boast of never having dealt with a serious injury.
The Warriors did “light” work Friday, according to Kerr, but at Thompson made a good impression on at least one of his teammates.
“When he was running full court, he looked healthy, he looked good,” said Marquese Chriss. “He looked like Klay Thompson. He looked like himself. He looked athletic. He looked like he was shooting the ball well. He looked here comfortable.”
The Warriors didn’t scrimmage Friday and Kerr was unclear what will be asked of Thompson once 5-on-5 activity begins. That specific timeline will be charted by director of sports medicine Rick Celebrini.