SAN FRANCISCO -- Golden State Warriors swingman Klay Thompson said his rehab from a torn ACL in his left knee is 'going great,' but it remains unclear if Thompson will return this season. Speaking publicly to reporters for the first time since Warriors media day in late September, Thompson seemed pleased with the way he is progressing.
"It's going great," Thompson said during Tuesday's game against the Dallas Mavericks. "I mean, at least my suits are well tailored. And it's fun to watch these guys battle. Obviously, I wish I could be out there. It's been a long process. I haven't stopped working since the third day after Game 6 of the 2019 Finals. You might not see me a lot, but I'm working. I don't know what's going to come this season, I would love to get out there. I appreciate the Warrior fans showing up every night in Chase, just a testament to the fan base we have. They know it's been a tough season, but they know the future's bright -- so it's actually nice to be here. I haven't seen you guys [media] in a long time. You're welcome for me being here today. I just kind of miss -- I know it's a tough part of the season. It's very rare for me not to be grinding through it with them, but I'm trying to make sure this type of injury never happens to me again, so I'll be very patient because I want to play at a high level 'til my late 30s."
Thompson's injury occurred June 13th in Game 6 of the NBA Finals against the Toronto Raptors. While there has always been hope within the Warriors' organization that Thompson would play this season, both Thompson and team officials have said they don't want to rush the rehab process. The Warriors have stated all along that Thompson would be reevaluated around the All-Star break next month and they would take the next steps based on what doctors say. Thompson, who has spent some time rehabbing in Los Angeles, is starting to be around the Warriors practice facility even more as he continues his recovery. The former All-Star has been shooting with teammates after practices as he continues making progress toward playing again.
"More than anything it just feels good to see him out there," Warriors coach Steve Kerr said before Tuesday's game. "And for him to feel it, like he's actually closer. Even though he's still a ways from being out on the floor, he's so far along now compared to when this first started. So he's pretty far down the path, so I think he's starting to feel that. The routine is changing now. He's on the court a lot more, and I'm asking him to be around our team a lot more. Both Steph [Curry] and Klay I've talked to about starting to be engaged and involved with the group. The new players need to get to know those guys and vice versa. And they give our young group some confidence just with their presence. So I think that's all part of the next step here for both Steph and Klay."
After losing star guard Stephen Curry to a broken hand in the fourth game of the season, Thompson and Curry have been stuck on the Warriors' bench as spectators as their injury riddled team has struggled to a 9-33 record following Tuesday's defeat. Still, both players are optimistic about the team's future and both are enjoying some time off to get recharged both mentally and physically after five straight trips to the NBA Finals.
Thompson is particularly happy to have the chance to go back to Pullman, Washington, this Saturday to get his Washington State jersey retired.
"I'm really excited," Thompson said. "I haven't been back in about five years, so to go back and see the people I really grew up with, and the community that really embraced me. It's very nostalgic and it's just really cool, because [having my jersey retired] was a dream of mine leaving Pullman. I didn't think it would ever come true. And it did, so it's exciting."
Thompson's teammate, Draymond Green, recently had his jersey retired at Michigan State, a ceremony Thompson attended in East Lansing, Michigan. Green and other Warriors staffers would likely be there on Saturday, but the Warriors have a game against the Orlando Magic. Still, Thompson is embracing the fact that Curry will be joining him in Pullman this weekend. Thompson is even poked fun at the fact that Curry, a proud Davidson alum, can't have his jersey retired because of a school rule that states he must complete his degree first.
"It's really cool," Thompson said of Curry's attending. "We've been through a lot of highs together. A lot of lows. We've played at the highest level of the game as far as the NBA Finals and international competition. And he's been my longest-tenured teammate, so I appreciate him coming. One day maybe I'll make it out to Davidson, too, if he got to go get that degree."