Could Klay Thompson be making his return to the floor for the Golden State Warriors earlier than expected?
That’s still to be determined, but the Dubs made a very notable announcement on Wednesday that could point to Stephen Curry’s “Splash Brother” being ready for a regular season contest sooner than anticipated.
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Thompson – along with second-year center James Wiseman – was assigned to the G-League on Sunday, but Santa Cruz hasn’t had any games since then. The Sea Dubs upcoming schedule includes a pair of home games on Friday and Saturday, while Golden State played road games on Sunday and Tuesday, and will be back at the Chase Center for a four-game slate beginning on Friday.
James Wiseman and Damion Lee Also Set to Return
While Wiseman and Thompson were initially sent to Santa Cruz a few days ago, Damion Lee is back with the big club after being with Santa Cruz for less than 24 hours. Unlike the two aforementioned players, Lee is not on an injury rehab assignment, as he’s already played in 15 of Golden State’s first 21 contests.
Steph’s brother-in-law has averaged 8.9 points, 2.9 rebounds, 1.2 assists and 21.0 minutes per game thus far and has posted a .438/.352/.810 shooting line.
While Wiseman’s injury layoff hasn’t been nearly as lengthy as Thompson’s two-and-a-half year shutdown, the “polarizing” big man’s journey back to the court has been a long time coming. For comparison’s sake, when Thompson last played in a game for the Warriors in the 2019 NBA Finals, Wiseman hadn’t yet started his brief college basketball career at the University of Memphis.
How Does Warriors’ Upcoming Schedule Impact Thompson’s Return?
Though Wednesday’s news that the trio of players had been recalled to the big club is good news, the only guy who could realistically play in the Dubs’ rematch against the Phoenix Suns on Friday is Lee.
It’s already been reported that Thompson’s return date will likely be closer to Christmastime, and Wiseman is likely slated for a return shortly thereafter. Head coach Steve Kerr mentioned earlier in the season that Thompson’s first game back in over two years will definitely be in front of the home fans, so that helps narrow things down a bit.
Following Golden State’s upcoming four-game homestand, the Dubs will go on the road for five tilts in a row from December 11 through December 18. Assuming that Thompson doesn’t make a huge surprise return two or three weeks ahead of schedule, that means that his first game back at the Chase Center could be Monday, December 20 against the Sacramento Kings, Thursday, December 23 against the Memphis Grizzlies or Tuesday, December 28 against the Denver Nuggets (the team plays on the road against the Suns on Christmas Day).
Conveniently, following the Sea Dubs’ home games this Friday and Saturday, the next one will be on December 17. Perhaps Dumas’ prediction is correct, and Thompson can play in the Santa Cruz contest on the 17th as a tune-up for his Golden State return a few days later.
Whenever Thompson makes his “splashy” return, it is likely to be the most highly-anticipated Warriors game since the 2019 NBA Finals.
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