There were a number of players who suffered season-ending injuries in the 2020-21 season and are set to return at some point in the 2021-22 season.
From five-time All-Star Klay Thompson to two-time Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard, here are the latest updates on those players.
Klay Thompson, Golden State Warriors
Game 6 of the 2019 NBA Finals was the last time that Thompson took the court fully healthy.
A torn ACL in his left knee kept him out of all of the 2019-20 season and his return to action took a further step back when he tore his right Achilles in an offseason workout, ruling him out of the 2020-21 season.
Provided that an Achilles injury generally takes 8-12 months to return from, the premier shooting guard could be set to return at some point in the 2021-22 season.
"I plan on ... hopefully early next season," Thompson said when asked when he would return while doing Instagram Live. "I mean, the Achilles is like a 12-month recovery phase. But I also have to factor in my left knee because I don't want to come back and be half myself, you know what I'm saying?
"Recovery is going, through. It's slow. The Achilles is tedious."
According to a report from ESPN's Ramona Shelburne, the Warriors have slated Dec. 25 as a "conservative target" for Thompson's return to action, taking his conditioning into account after missing two full seasons of action.
For more on his return, click here.
Spencer Dinwiddie, Washington Wizards
Just three games into the 2020-21 season, the 6-foot-5 guard suffered a partially torn ACL in his right knee that sidelined him for the rest of the season.
Dinwiddie was shipped to the Wizards from the Brooklyn Nets as part of a sign-and-trade this offseason.
"I anticipate being full-go for the regular season and training camp and all that stuff," Dinwiddie said during his introductory press conference on Aug. 9.
"I got cleared just prior to, I believe it was the conference finals. I anticipated a ramp-up before the Finals if my former team, Brooklyn, was fortunate enough to make it that far. Obviously, the season ended. With that being said, I continued my workout schedule. What I didn't advance to was 5-on-5, playing and things like that because we were waiting to sign the contract, obviously just out of an abundance of caution. Just in terms of medically, I'm cleared.
fresh fits 🔴⚪️🥶@SDinwiddie_25 | @Ticketmaster pic.twitter.com/85qwZ8X6QY- Washington Wizards (@WashWizards) August 7, 2021
Along with Dinwiddie, the Wizards acquired Kyle Kuzma, Montrezl Harrell, Aaron Holiday, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and the 31st overall pick in the 2021 NBA Draft, Isaiah Todd, this offseason.
T.J. Warren, Indiana Pacers
Similar to Dinwiddie, Warren's 2020-21 season was cut short. Just four games in, he suffered a stress fracture in his left foot.
He remained out of games until March when he was officially ruled out for the remainder of the 2020-21 season.
The Pacers announced that the stress fracture "is healing during the rehabilitation process; but not at the pace previously anticipated. He remains out indefinitely."
"I'm making sure I do this rehab process right so that I can get back on the court as soon as I can and be the best that I can," Warren said on Twitter.
It's still unknown when, exactly, Warren will return.
Markelle Fultz, Orlando Magic
Just eight games into the 2020-21 season, when he was averaging career-highs of 12.9 points and 5.4 assists for the Magic, Fultz suffered a torn ACL in his left knee.
He underwent surgery in January and given the usual timeline for return from an ACL injury, he could take the court again in the first half of the 2021-22 season.
"My knee feels amazing," Fultz said to The Athletic in May. "I feel like it's truly a blessing just to be able to build up my foundation from the ground up and do it the right way. I feel like I'm becoming very strong in both legs.
"I'm only doing just spot shooting really, no jumping," he added. "I'm keeping that rhythm of the ball being in my hands. I feel like this is a blessing just to be able to give me a chance to work on everything that I wanted to work on as far as my shot mechanics and continue to become more efficient and more fluid in everything that I want to do."
Thomas Bryant, Washington Wizards
Bryant's 2020-21 season was shaping up to be his best yet, as he averaged career-highs of 14.3 points and 6.1 rebounds as the starter for the Wizards.
However, 10 games in, Bryant partially tore his ACL in his left knee, which ruled him out for the rest of the 2020-21 season. Per Wizards general manager Tommy Shepherd, he isn't expected to start the 2021-22 season.
"I can't see Thomas necessarily being available in our first game. But we'll measure it as we go along. But I'm really pleased with their progress."
Jonathan Issac, Orlando Magic
The No. 6 overall pick in the 2017 NBA Draft, Isaac seemed to have figured out his role and was growing into it. Prior to his injury, he was averaging a career-high 11.9 points, 6.8 rebounds and 2.3 blocks in 28.8 minutes.
However, 32 games into the 2019-20 season, his season was cut short after he was diagnosed with "posterior lateral corner injury and a medial bone contusion" on New Year's Day. He returned in the season restart in the Orlando bubble but tore his left ACL and meniscus two games in.
It's still not known when Isaac will return.
James Wiseman, Golden State Warriors
The second overall pick of the 2020 NBA Draft, Wiseman's season ended with a torn meniscus injury in his right knee. Having gone through surgery to repair it in April, he is said to be on schedule to return for training camp.
Gordon Hayward, Charlotte Hornets
Hayward played a key role as a veteran on the young Hornets last season, but he suffered a right foot sprain 44 games into the season and did not return.
The initial timetable said he would be out for at least four weeks after the injury. With that in mind, he should be good to return in the 2021-22 season but when, exactly, isn't certain or official yet.
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Oklahoma City Thunder
After 35 games, a "significant tear" in Gilgeous-Alexander's plantar fascia kept him out of the remainder of the 2020-21 season.
Two months after his last game in March, he provided an update on his injury.
"The foot is progressing," Gilgeous-Alexander said in his exit interview. "I feel a lot better than I did a month ago, two months ago. I feel like I'm getting better every day, so I'm satisfied with that."
No timetable or update for Gilgeous-Alexander has been provided or announced so far.
Jamal Murray, Denver Nuggets
Murray was averaging a career-best 21.2 points through 48 games in 2020-21, but he saw his season come to an end after suffering a torn ACL in his left knee on April 12, 2021.
The Nuggets announced that Murray would be out indefinitely, but he recently progressed to "shooting and at least light running."
Back in the building!- Denver Nuggets (@nuggets) August 7, 2021
😄 @BeMore27 pic.twitter.com/94Dr37LJUk
Kawhi Leonard, LA Clippers
Leonard was in the midst of another dominant postseason when his season came to an end.
In Game 4 of LA's second-round series with the Utah Jazz in the 2021 NBA Playoffs, Leonard appeared to suffer a knee injury near the end of the game. The Clippers announced the next day that he had suffered a right knee sprain and it was then announced in mid-July that he had undergone surgery to repair a partial tear of his right ACL.
The Clippers added that there was no timetable for his return.
Given the usual timetable for the return from an ACL injury, the two-time Finals MVP could miss a considerable part of the 2021-22 season.
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