The Golden State Warriors already have the NBA’s best record, and reinforcements are on the way. According to coach Steve Kerr, Warriors guard Klay Thompson, who missed the past two seasons in their entirety due to ACL and Achilles injuries, participated in five-on-five action in practice for the first time this week. This doesn’t mean that a return to game action is imminent for the former All-Star, but it’s a positive sign of progress nonetheless.
“He played five-on-five [Monday] and then I think he’s going to play 5-on-5 [Wednesday],” Kerr said after Golden State’s 117-99 victory over the Brooklyn Nets on Tuesday night. “… 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.”
Needless to say, Thompson’s teammates are extremely excited about his pending return after two years away from the game.
“It’s huge,” Warriors forward Draymond Green said of Thompson’s return. “From a mental standpoint alone, just huge. So 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 Klay Thompson of 2018 right away, but he’s worked his ass off. He’s worked his ass off for this moment, and I’m looking forward to getting him back out there.”
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In addition to Thompson, Kerr also provided an update on second-year big man James Wiseman, who has been sidelined since April with a knee injury.
“James [Wiseman] did not play. He hasn’t been cleared yet for 5-on-5, Kerr said. “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 got to be patient.”
A month into the season, the Warriors have already established themselves as one of the league’s best teams on both ends of the floor. The return of Thompson and Wiseman should only work to make them deeper and more dangerous.