Warriors Teammates Surround Klay Thompson During Emotional Moment

Klay Thompson

Getty Klay Thompson sits on the bench following a Golden State Warriors win over the Portland Trail Blazers.

After more than two-and-a-half years of intensive rehab following a pair of major injuries and the end finally in sight, the emotion caught up with Golden State Warriors star Klay Thompson.

With Thompson growing ever closer to his return to the Warriors, the All-Star guard had a vulnerable moment following the team’s 118-103 win over the Portland Trail Blazers on Friday. Thompson remained glued to the bench for more than 30 minutes following the game, a towel draped over his head at times as he soaked in the moment. Coaches and teammates eventually gathered around Thompson, offering their support and encouragement for what Steph Curry predicted would be the “hardest part of his journey.”

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Thompson’s Emotional Moment

Thompson has become a fixture on the Warriors bench over the last year, a time he has been rehabbing from a torn Achilles suffered in a pickup basketball game just before the start of last season. He has lifted up teammates during rough stretches and grown emotional during some big moments for last year’s team that hovered around the fringes of playoff contention.

During the November 26 win over the Blazers, Thompson appeared overcome with emotion. He was fixed to the bench for close to 35 minutes until some members of the coaching staff came to sit beside Thompson. Teammate Draymond Green left his friends and family to join Thompson as well, Marcus Thompson of The Athletic reported.

Afterward, Green said it’s important for Thompson’s teammates to support him through the final leg of his return from two major injuries.

“After almost three full calendar years off the floor, it’s tough,” Green said. “So we sympathize with him. But we have to be right there. Continue to push him. Continue to get him to the finish line, or the start line, as I said before. … It’s beautiful to watch him conquer this journey that he’s been on. He’s conquering it.”

Curry added that this could actually be the most difficult stretch for Thompson, when his return to the hardwood is so close but not yet in his grasp.

“Super proud of the way he’s just approached this two-year window because unless he wants to write a book and tell every step of the way, nobody will understand what he’s been through away from the game so long,” Curry said. “And it shows how much this game matters to him. It’s rare these days to have somebody as pure as Klay just feel every bit of what basketball brings to him.”

Thompson’s Return in Sight

Thompson is likely less than a month away from finally rejoining his Warriors teammates on the floor in uniform instead of the bench in street clothes. Thompson was cleared to return to full participation in practice last week, and the Warriors have been bringing in some talented players to participate in five-on-five scrimmages. Shams Charania and Anthony Slater of The Athletic reported that Thompson is on pace to play sometime before Christmas, likely either December 20 against the Sacramento Kings or December 23 against the Memphis Grizzlies.

But Warriors head coach Steve Kerr warned that it’s still a long road and it could be a while before Thompson is fully back to health.

“Especially early when he’s scrimmaging, he’s knocking down shots,” Kerr said on Tuesday, via NBC Sports Bay Area. “But you can see fatigue set in much quicker than we will see in a month, in two months. The endurance stuff is really the key. With endurance comes the rhythm of the shot.”

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