The Golden State Warriors haven’t been on the receiving end of much good news since the return of Klay Thompson, but that changed at least a little on Sunday night.
For the first time since stepping back onto an NBA basketball court January 9, head coach Steve Kerr loosened Thompson’s playing time restriction, upping the cap from 20 minutes to 24 minutes. It was a decision that Kerr said a couple of days before he was intending to make.
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Anthony Slater, of The Athletic, posted Kerr’s comments online Friday.
“Steve Kerr said ‘the plan’ is to bump Klay Thompson’s minutes up on Sunday. Not much. Maybe from 20 to about 24,” Slater tweeted. “But Kerr said it was important to see Klay play 10 straight third quarter minutes yesterday.”
Thompson ended up posting 23 minutes in a 119-99 loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves, which dropped the Warriors to 1-3 on their road swing through the East. Thompson finished the night with 13 points on 5 of 14 shooting to go along with 4 rebounds and 2 assists.
Both Green, Curry Suffer Injuries After Thompson’s Return
Aside from Thompson’s minutes uptick, the rest of the news for the Warriors this weekend ranged from bad to bleak.
It begins with forward Draymond Green, Golden State’s emotional leader and one of the top defensive players in the entire NBA. Team doctors initially diagnosed Green with a calf injury, which the Warriors said he aggravated in pregame warmups January 9 at the Chase Center, just before the start of the same contest in which Thompson was set to return. The team was hopeful at the time that Green might be ready to go following the end of its four-game Eastern Conference road trip, but that is not to be.
Golden State announced Sunday that Green’s injury is actually more extensive and involves his lower back, as well.
The team said in a statement that Green was seen by specialists and underwent an MRI on his back.
“The evaluations indicated the left calf soreness/tightness is tied to the involvement of a disc in his lower back,” the statement continued. “Draymond will receive physical therapy in the coming days and will continue to be monitored by the team’s medical and training staff. He will be re-evaluated again in two weeks.”
Based on the timeline, Green’s absence from the team will tally at least eight games.
Curry Heads Home Early With Hand Injury
The Dubs’ road trip didn’t just cost them three losses and their spot atop the West. The health of the team’s MVP candidate, Steph Curry, was also a casualty of the Eastern Conference swing.
Curry told media members he fell hard on his shooting hand during the team’s blowout victory over the Chicago Bulls Friday. He was not with the team Sunday in Minnesota.
“Steph Curry left the Warriors’ road trip early. He’s back in the Bay Area with Rick Celebrini,” Slater tweeted. “Belief is his hand injury is very minor. Steve Kerr said team is hopeful he will play Tuesday against the Pistons.”
Curry will have two days to rehab the injury before Detroit comes to town to kick off a seven-game home stand in San Francisco that winds down on January 29, when the Warriors take on the Brooklyn Nets.