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Klay Thompson returns to full-team practice and backs Warriors for title

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Thompson
was
a
key
member
of
championship-winning
teams
in
2015,
2017
and
2018
but
sustained
an
anterior
cruciate
ligament
(ACL)
tear
as
the
Warriors’
‘three-peat’ bid
failed
against
the
Toronto
Raptors
in
the
2019
Finals.

The
guard
then
suffered
an
Achilles
tendon
injury
while
recovering,
meaning
he
missed
the
entirety
of
two
seasons
prior
to
2021-22.

But
Thompson
is
now
close
to
his
long-awaited
return,
with
his
19.5
career
points
per
game
and
41.9
per
cent
three-point
shooting
set
to
boost
a
Warriors
team
already
leading
the
league.

Back
practising
alongside
his
team-mates
on
Tuesday,
Thompson
said:
“It’s
so
exciting.
Just
to
be
running
up
and
down
the
court
and
playing
basketball,
it’s
truly
a
blessing
and
it
makes
coming
to
work
so
easy.

“The
boring
stuff’s
behind
me
and
now
it’s
just
getting
back
in
game
shape.
I’ve
got
to
stay
patient
because
I
can
be
an
overeager
person
to
get
out
there
and
play,
but
I’m
just
incredibly
grateful
to
be
out
there.

“The
work
the
training
staff
and
I
have
done
over
the
last
two
years
is
really
paying
off,
and
it’s
hard
to
put
into
words
how
grateful
I
am
to
be
playing
basketball
again.”

After
two
tougher
years
following
Thompson’s
injury
and
Kevin
Durant’s
departure,
Golden
State
are
an
outstanding
15-2.
Only
in
2015-16,
when
they
had
won
each
of
their
first
17
games,
have
the
team
enjoyed
a
better
start.

The
need
for
Thompson
to
return
is
not
as
desperate
as
had
been
imagined,
as
Stephen
Curry
is
averaging
28.4
points
in
an
MVP-calibre
season
while
Andrew
Wiggins
(19.1)
and
Jordan
Poole
(18.4)
have
each
also
provided
consistent
scoring.

But
adding
Thompson
into
the
mix
is
only
going
to
improve
the
Warriors’ chances,
the
man
himself
believes.

“We’re
15-2.
That’s
a
great
indicator
of
[being
able
to
win
a
title],”
he
said.

“And
our
defence,
I
think
it’s
top
three
in
the
league
[allowing
101.1
points
per
game,
ranked
first],
as
well
as
our
offense
[scoring
114.2
points
per
game,
also
ranked
first]

and
I’m
not
even
out
there
yet.
Think
about
that.
Really
think
about
that.

“I’m
more
motivated
than
ever
as
well.
I
want
a
championship
so
bad.
More
than
anything.”

Warriors
head
coach
Steve
Kerr
will
not
rush
back
his
most
reliable
second
man,
though,
explaining:
“We
don’t
have
a
target
date.

“What
we
have
is
a
number
of
weeks
ahead
of
us
for
certain
where
we’re
going
to
play
it
out,
keep
letting
him
scrimmage
as
often
as
possible
so
that
he’ll
build
that
endurance.

“And
I
would
think
within
a
few
weeks
we’ll
be
able
to
finally
sort
of
get
a
target
date,
but
we
don’t
have
one
right
now.”

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