Klay in full contact workouts as long-awaited return gets closer

Klay Thompson’s return to an NBA court after more than two years out of action is edging ever closer.

Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr confirmed that the second Splash Brother is now doing full-contact workouts with the rest of the team as his recovery from a torn Achilles suffered in November last year continues.

That injury followed the torn ACL he suffered during Game 6 of the 2019 NBA Finals as the Warriors were defeated by the Toronto Raptors. It’s been a long road to recovery.

But it may be approaching its end now, as Kerr confirmed in the press conference after Tuesday’s 117-99 win over the Brooklyn Nets.

Kerr said: “He played 5-on-5 (on Monday) and then I think he’s going to play 5-on-5 (on Wednesday).

“James [Wiseman] did not play. He hasn’t been cleared yet for 5-on-5, but Klay did, and I got good reports and he’s got to keep going.

“A two-year absence requires a lot of work. Not just a rehab, but the endurance, the strength, so it’s great that he’s playing 5-on-5 but it doesn’t mean he’s going to be ready to step on an NBA floor next week or something, but he’s progressing really well.”

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On October 29, 2018 Klay Thompson broke Golden State Warriors teammate Steph Curry’s single game three-point record, hitting 14 against the Chicago Bulls

The hope is that he will be back on the floor sometime near Christmas and team-mate Draymond Green feels it will be another step forward for the NBA’s best team currently, who are 12-2.

“It’s huge. From a mental standpoint alone, just huge. I think it also helps with the way other teams view you as well.

“So we’re looking forward to getting him back. We know what he brings to the table.

“We’re not expecting him to be the Klay Thompson of 2018 right away, but he’s worked his a** off. He’s worked his a** off for this moment, and I’m looking forward to getting him back out there.”

Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson jump in mid-air to celebrate a basket against the Chicago Bulls in 2018

Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson jump in mid-air to celebrate a basket against the Bulls

Green confirmed the Warriors locker room is “waiting with open arms when he decides to come back”.

Thompson’s fellow Splash Brother Stephen Curry in on course for a third MVP season if he carries on the way he has started. Curry drained nine three-pointers, including four from the logo, in the Warriors win in Brooklyn and is averaging 28.7 points per game.

Curry said: “I don’t know much about the details. I’ve seen him obviously working out, and he looks good. I knew there was a reason he stayed back, to make the most of his rehab process, so I’m glad to hear he’s continuing to make strides.”

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Stephen Curry scores 37 points and grabs seven rebounds in the Golden State Warriors’ defeat of the Brooklyn Nets in Week 5 of the NBA

Second-year center James Wiseman, the second pick in last year’s draft, is also moving closer to a return – although he is behind Thompson in the current timeline. The 20-year-old suffered a meniscus tear in his right knee last April and hasn’t been cleared for contact yet but Kerr is hoping it will happen soon.

Kerr said: “I hope so. The injury that he suffered, everything is clear – there’s no structural issues or anything. It’s an injury that requires a lot of give and take and daily maintenance and kind of checking in on how he’s doing.

“You remember, last year, Jaren Jackson had the same injury. It’s a long process, but he’s doing really well, his attitude is great and we obviously can’t wait until he’s back and able to play. We just (have) to be patient.”