Thompson’s status unclear as he recovers from knee surgery

Injured Golden State Warriors guard Klay Thompson, left, watches his team play a pre-season game against the Los Angeles Lakers. (Jeff Chiu/AP)

SAN FRANCISCO — Steve Kerr insists he isn’t ruling All-Star guard Klay Thompson out for the entire season, yet the Golden State coach cautions that Thompson’s recovery from surgery July 2 for a torn ACL in his left knee is still expected to take nine to 12 months.

Thompson is "moving great" according to Kerr and certainly looked it as he’s back doing shooting work on the court.

"ACLs, generally they take nine to 12 months. Nine months takes us right to the end of the season," said Kerr, who had recently told NBC Sports Bay Area it was unlikely Thompson would play this season.

"I wasn’t announcing anything. He’s doing great with his rehab. It’s still possible that he could play. I forgot with modern media that ‘unlikely’ is going to become on the ticker ‘out for the year’ and all that stuff, so probably my mistake for opening my mouth. It’s not the first time I’ve gotten myself in trouble for doing that. It’s an ACL, so if you just do your research with the history of ACLs, he had surgery July 2, get a calculator, do the math."

Thompson injured his knee in a Game 6 NBA Finals loss June 13 to Toronto that gave the Raptors their first NBA title. Kerr said the Warriors have had several internal discussions about Thompson’s rehab in recent weeks and "we all understand the circumstances."

"Klay’s bored more than anything," Kerr said. "He wants to play. He loves basketball so much. The good thing is he’s starting to shoot as you see out here. He’s starting to do more things."

Centre Kevon Looney is expected to play when the Warriors open the season in the first official game at new Chase Center on Thursday night against the Clippers.

Looney, formally listed as probable for Thursday’s opener, scrimmaged Tuesday after having returned for the past four practices after nursing a strained right hamstring. He received a three-year contract this off-season to stay with the Warriors, who have reached five straight NBA Finals and won back-to-back titles in 2017 and ’18.

Looney spent some of the summer recovering after he aggravated a cartilage fracture in his right collarbone area during Game 5 of the finals. He played the bulk of the minutes at centre during the post-season.

"We’re thrilled to have Loon back," Kerr said. "He’s so important to what we do. He’s never going to make a huge splash in the box score, he won’t be prominent in the highlights, but he does all the things that help us win and today we scrimmaged for a whole quarter. He made a dramatic difference with the team he was on, setting screens, defending. He looked good. He scrimmaged two days ago, too, so it’s been a good few days of practice. Hopeful that he will play on Thursday night."

An update from the team on Willie Cauley-Stein’s progress from a foot injury is still planned for later this month. Cauley-Stein strained his left foot ahead of training camp while scrimmaging.

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