Tue. Dec 6th, 2022

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Klay Thompson may have returned healthy to the Golden State Warriors last season, but the scars from his two missed seasons are still quite visible. The Warriors played their first of two preseason games against the Washington Wizards on Friday and will play another on Sunday, but Warriors coach Steve Kerr said that Thompson will not be playing at all during the trip to Japan.

“Just feel more comfortable giving him a little more of a ramp up,” Kerr said before Friday’s victory over Washington. “He’s just not quite ready to play at this point just based on where, you know, we’re so early in camp. We just want to be safe and make sure he gets a good ramp-up before he plays in games.”

Typically, so little time to ramp up wouldn’t be a problem for a veteran in a preseason context. The games tend to be so low-impact and demand so few minutes out of a team’s best players that they can safely jog through them. Stephen Curry and Draymond Green played 13 uneventful minutes on Friday. But both of them were able to maintain their typical offseason training regimens. As Thompson revealed, he simply couldn’t play much basketball this summer. 

“Yea I didn’t play a lot this summer,” Thompson said. “It was hard, especially the last summer I was healthy, popping my Achilles, it was really hard for me to get out there. Mentally it was hard. It’s hard to explain, it’s like a mental block in a way. I’m gonna face it one day, but this season was so taxing, just coming back, it was hard to win a championship and then a month later play. It’s a lot. I look forward to playing summer basketball again.”

It took Thompson two years to recover from the physical injuries he suffered. It will take him longer to recover mentally, especially after a draining championship run deprived him of the rest most players get after a long season. Golden State hopes to contend for another title this season, and as such, will treat Thompson with an abundance of caution. The goal is for him to be healthy in May and June, and if that means sacrificing in September, then so be it.

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