According to Shelburne, December 25 is a “conservative target” for Thompson, but the Warriors will exercise plenty of patience with a star player who hasn’t seen any NBA game action since June of 2019.
“He could come back a little bit before (December 25), but in terms of getting his conditioning right, they’re targeting the Christmas Day game against the Suns,” Shelburne said. “I know that sounds a little late to people, but he was injured on November 18, so this is 13 months from an Achilles injury.
“… If he does well and his conditioning is up and he feels like he wants to come back earlier, he will,” Shelburne continued. “… (But) you need time to build your conditioning back up when you miss two NBA seasons.”
Thompson suffered a torn ACL during Game 6 of the 2019 NBA Finals on June 13 and missed the entire 2019/20 season while recovering from that injury. Just when he appeared to be on the verge of returning to action last fall, he tore his Achilles tendon in November, resulting in another lost year.
Thompson, 31, is one of the Warriors’ most important two-way players, providing elite shooting and floor-spacing on offense while often handling some of the toughest assignments on defense. Having a fully healthy and effective version of Thompson back on the court will be crucial if Golden State hopes to contend for a title again in 2022, so it makes sense that the team would be careful not to rush him back for early-season games in October and November.