Klay Thompson spent 934 days waiting for Sunday, rehabbing a torn ACL and ruptured Achilles since the last time we saw him on an NBA floor. For weeks there’s been speculation about when Thompson’s debut would come, as there was hope it might be before Christmas, but as the Warriors kept rolling and there wasn’t much pressure on getting Thompson back in order to win games, the Warriors wanted to make sure they were getting Klay back as close to his best and in the best conditioning possible.
There was as much anticipation for Sunday’s game in San Francisco as you’ll ever see for a January NBA regular season game, with the Warriors all rocking No. 11 jerseys when they arrived pregame and Warriors fans roaring for every made bucket in warmups from Klay. There wasn’t an empty seat in the house for pregame intros, as the Warriors faithful wanted to be sure to be there for Thompson’s introduction back into the starting lineup.
It was an emotional scene in the Chase Center and you can see Klay almost made it through it while keeping a stoic look on his face, but as he gets to the end and sees Steph and the other starters he cracks a big smile.
As for how his first stint went, the first possession of Thompson’s return couldn’t have gone better as he caught the ball off a pindown and drove the lane for a beautiful runner for his first bucket in over two years.
KLAY THOMPSON KNOCKS DOWN HIS FIRST SHOT ATTEMPT IN OVER 2 YEARS! pic.twitter.com/Lwc3pIpm2J
— NBA (@NBA) January 10, 2022
From there he missed three jump shots, as he looked a bit amped up to try and bury some shots to blow the roof off of the arena, but you could see already how much more dynamic the Warriors have the opportunity to be offensively by his presence as another shooting threat and secondary playmaker.