SACRAMENTO — Golden State Warriors guard Klay Thompson has undergone successful ACL surgery in Los Angeles, according to multiple reports.
Thompson’s prognosis is unexpectedly good news for Golden State: His recovery is projected to take between five and seven months, according to his agent, who spoke with Adrian Wojnarowksi of ESPN. Normal recovery from an ACL tear is between six and 12 months.
Thompson’s timeline could have him on track to play by December. In what was expected to be a transitional year for the Warriors following the departure of Kevin Durant, they now may have both Splash Brothers on the floor for most of the season, along with newly-acquired center Willie Cauley-Stein and All-Star Draymond Green.
Thompson tore his left ACL while coming down from a slam dunk in Game 6 of the NBA Finals at Oracle Arena, and then returned shortly after the landing to hit both of his free throws before being pulled by head coach Steve Kerr after trying to go back and play defense. After signing a four-year, $190 million max deal on the first day of free agency, Thompson underwent surgery on Tuesday in Los Angeles with Dr. Neal ElAttrache at the Kerlan Jobe Institute.
While Thompson’s healing powers and pain tolerance are well-documented. He played all of the 2018 NBA Finals with a high ankle sprain and played in 121 straight playoff games before a strained hamstring sat him down for Game 3 of the 2019 Finals. In six of his eight NBA seasons, he’s played in 77 of a possible 82 regular-season games. few expected him to be back for even the final two months of the season, much less before the All-Star break.
His earliest return date would come just ahead of the Dec. 15 date when Golden State would be elibible to trade newly-acquired guard D’Angelo Russell, who was brought in on a sign-and-trade as part of Durant’s departure to Brooklyn. Russell — a 23-year old All-Star who the Nets built around over the last two seasons — doesn’t entirely fit with Thompson and Stephen Curry in Golden State’s offense, and is likely a stopgap until Thompson returns, so it’s entirely possible that the Warriors could flip him for more young assets, draft picks or a starting small forward, once Thompson comes back.