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Warriors' Steve Kerr: Don’t expect Klay Thompson to return this season

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Warriors coach Steve Kerr said he isn’t expecting Klay Thompson to be ready to return this season despite hopes that he might.

Since Thompson tore his left anterior cruciate ligament in Game 6 of the NBA Finals last June, the Warriors have been holding out hope that the guard might return to action during the regular season.

But in an interview with NBC Sports Bay Area, Kerr said he is not that optimistic about Thompson’s return happening this year.

“It’s unlikely that he’s going to play this year,” Steve Kerr recently said in an interview with the team’s flagship television station. “So we have to understand that.”

Thompson has said he hopes to play after the NBA All-Star break in February. But Kerr, who tore his ACL in college, believes Thompson will be on the same timeline as other players who sustained the same injury, and that means at least 11 months to a year.

“You have to look at it realistically,” the Warriors coach said. “I had an ACL [tear] in college, and I missed a whole season. Generally, an ACL for a basketball player is a full-year recovery, and if it’s a full year for Klay, that puts them out for the season.

“We’ve kind of left the door open in case the rehab goes perfectly and the doctors say he can go. But the reality is, on April 1, that’s the nine-month mark. … April versus nine months post-op for an ACL.

“We have to prepare our young guys to fill that role behind him, and when he gets back, whenever that is, hopefully these young guys now are developed and in the rotation and ready to really be contributors on a playoff team and we can get better,” Kerr added.

Thompson remains with the team while he continues his rehabilitation. Clearly, the down time is tough on the All-Star performer.

“He’s bored,” Kerr said. “I mean, Klay loves basketball, he loves to play, so he’s at the point in his rehab, three-plus months in, where his knee feels pretty good. He’s not in pain. He can get out there and shoot around, but he’s got to let it heal, and he can’t run, he can’t cut. So we’ll see him in the weight room, in the training room, getting his work in.

“But I feel bad for him. You never feel part of it unless you’re actually playing and with the guys, and he misses that.”

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