Last night Golden State Warriors legend Klay Thompson made his return from injury against the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Nothing special about that you may say. NBA Stars are injured all the time and come back from those injuries all the time.
However, last night was special. Thompson has missed a total of 941-days after two horrific injuries saw him miss almost two and a half years of action.
Experts had said those injuries would see Thompson lose pace and explosiveness and that he may have to settle for a reduced role.
Early in the game, he seemed to disprove the doubters and you’d have probably got long odds from bookmakers like PointsBet Sportsbook on the way Thompson announced his return.
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Klay Dunks To Open Warriors Account
For the first time in 941 days, Klay Thompson heard the PA announcer call his name during pregame introductions — this time at Chase Center.
Forty seconds into the game, he cut hard to the rim and scored the Warriors’ first basket. https://t.co/XcGcXKnWjb
— San Francisco Chronicle (@sfchronicle) January 10, 2022
Just seconds into Sunday’s game, Thompson announced himself back and fit in style, by landing a lovely two point layup and followed that with a spectacular one-handed dunk over two defenders.
It was a stunning way to announce his return, made all the more remarkable by the fact that Thompson was never considered the most athletic of players in the NBA.
Indeed, his Warriors team mates often joked amongst the group that even at his best, Thompson could barely dunk the ball.
“It’s funny because I didn’t dunk those whole two months of scrimmaging,” said Thompson after the Warriors had landed a 96-82 win over the Cavaliers at Chase Center.
“But when those lights are the brightest, I just felt bouncy. It felt so good to throw that down. I did not expect that.”
Thompson finished with 20 minutes in the game, making 18 shot attempts, making seven of them on the way to landing a respectable 17 points on his return, adding two rebounds, an assist and two turnovers.
Teammate Stephen Curry laughed when he learned that Thompson had attempted almost a shot per minute on his return to the team.
“That is so Klay Thompson,” the superstar 3-point legend stated following the game.
Two Horrific Injuries
Thompson’s welcome return was enjoyed by the crowd at the game and his 20 minute display was almost a cameo effort from the Warriors ace.
It was almost two and a half years ago when he tore his left ACL in the sixth game of the NBA Finals.
A lengthy spell on the sidelines was sure to follow after career-saving surgery to repair the tear, however during his rehabilitation from that injury, Thompson then also tore his Achilles tendon very badly.
That injury precipitated another lengthy spell on the sidelines and as he recovered physically and mentally from both over two long, hard and often fearful years, Thompson was waiting for the day he could return in Warriors uniform.
Warriors Return To The Top Of Western Conference
The night went better than Klay Thompson could have expected. The Warriors victory combined with the Phoenix Suns defeat on Saturday night against the Miami Heat, saw Golden State head back to the top of the Western Conference with a 30-9 record, the same as the Suns.
— Scott Strazzante (@ScottStrazzante) January 10, 2022
Both teams are 2.5 games clear of the Utah Jazz and 3.5 games ahead of the Memphis Grizzlies in the West.
Other games yesterday saw the Timberwolves defeat the Rockets 141-123, the Denver Nuggets defeated the Oklahoma City Thunder 99-95 and the Dallas Mavericks upset the Eastern Conference leading Chicago Bulls with a 113-99 victory.
The Memphis Grizzlies defeated the LA Lakers 127-119 while the Portland Trail Blazers picked up a 103-88 win over the Sacramento Kings.
Next up for the Warriors and Klay Thompson are the Memphis Grizzlies on Tuesday Night, followed by a test against the current NBA Champions, the Milwaukee Bucks followed by the current Eastern Conference leaders, the Chicago Bulls.
It may well be that Thompson’s return to fitness has come at the perfect time for the Warriors ahead of a tricky period of games.