Klay Thompson, the Golden State Warriors guard, has confirmed that he will return from injury against the Cleveland Cavaliers

Klay Thompson
Source: Skysports

Klay Thompson has stated that he will play in the Golden State Warriors game against the Cleveland Cavaliers on Sunday night after a 941-day layoff.

Klay Thompson has been cleared to re-join a team that has started this season 29-9 without him, nearly 31 months after tearing the ACL in his left knee in Game 6 of the 2019 NBA Finals against the Toronto Raptors, and nearly 14 months after suffering a ruptured right Achilles in the lead-up to the 2020/21 season.

The Warriors posted a message from Klay Thompson titled “The Wait Is Over” moments after Saturday’s practise finished and Golden State coach Steve Kerr told the reporters, “It’s not my announcement or decision to make.”

It said: “I dislike saying ‘can’t wait since I prefer to be present in my life, but I can’t wait to play in front of our fans once more. Being a Warrior is a fantastic experience for me.”

Kerr had previously stated that Thompson, 31, would return as a starter, before cryptically adding, “When he comes back… it will be one of the most emotional nights of my basketball life.”

Thompson’s last game was against Toronto on June 13, 2019, in a loss that halted Golden State’s quest for a fourth championship in five seasons. He has missed the Warriors’ last 175 regular-season games, as well as both play-in tournament games in 2021, and they have yet to return to the playoffs since his departure.

His return comes as the Warriors are on a two-game losing streak for the first time this season. In a 101-96 loss to New Orleans on Thursday, they were missing Stephen Curry (bruised right quad) and Draymond Green (strained left hip), completing a 0-2 trip. Golden State had lost to Dallas the night before, 99-82.

On Saturday evening, several of Thompson’s Warriors teammates, including Curry, Green, and Andre Iguodala, rushed to social media to express their joy at his return.

Despite being from the other conference, Thompson will face a fairly familiar opponent in the Cavaliers. That’s because Golden State and Cleveland have met 22 times in the playoffs, including four times in the NBA Finals between 2015 and 2018, during which Thompson has helped the Warriors win 15 games and three championships.

Only the Houston Rockets (51), Los Angeles Clippers (44), Portland Trail Blazers (42) and San Antonio Spurs (42) have faced Thompson more frequently (all Western Conference teams) (41).

Cleveland has been healthier in the last week after being hit hard by Covid at the end of December, winning two of three games, including 114-101 at Portland on Friday in the first of a six-game trip.

With 26 points, Darius Garland led the way, but the major storey was Rajon Rondo’s flawless transition off the bench, with 11 points, five rebounds, and three assists in 17 minutes.

“It was a lot of fun,” Garland added later. “‘Dang, that’s Rondo on the floor,’ I thought after the first few plays. It was, nevertheless, enjoyable. Rondo is a fantastic guy, a tremendous veteran, and a leader on the court. As a result, it was a lot of joy to play with him.”

Rondo has stepped in to fill the vacuum left by Ricky Rubio’s torn left ACL last month. Rubio joins high-scoring guard Collin Sexton (torn meniscus in left knee) is being sidelined for the season.

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