Warriors Get Good News on Return of Top Rookie Jonathan Kuminga

Jonathan Kuminga

Getty Jonathan Kuminga poses during the Golden State Warriors media day.

The Golden State Warriors could soon have their top rookie back on the court.

The No. 7 overall pick, Jonathan Kuminga, has been sidelined since injuring his right knee during a preseason win over the Denver Nuggets on October 6, but has been working his way back and could now have a return date in sight. The Warriors announced on Saturday that Kuminga was cleared to return to practice, meaning he could be ready to take the court for the first time in close to a week.

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Kuminga Moving Toward Season Debut

As Ali Thanwalla of NBC Sports Bay Area reported, the 19-year-old has already been ruled out for the team’s three upcoming games this week and will be re-evaluated on Friday to determine when he’s ready to take the court. There have been good signs from the organization, with head coach Steve Kerr saying that he is slowly getting stronger.

Kuminga’s rehab is taking place in tandem with second-year center James Wiseman and Klay Thompson, who has been spending close to 11 months recovering from an Achilles tear that wiped out all of last season. Warriors head coach Steve Kerr said this week that all three are moving forward nicely.

“They both are really stepping up their rehab and their on-court activity. (Wednesday) was a great day for both of them,” Kerr said during an October 20 appearance on 95.7 The Game. “Kenny Atkinson is working closely with Jonathan [Kuminga] and they’ve had good workouts the last two days, so the knee is improving. Then with James [Wiseman], it’s been a very slow six months because we’re being very careful with him and the meniscus injury, but the last few days he’s really started to ramp it up, running sprints and doing some things laterally. [Dejan Milojevic] is working with him.”

Kuminga’s Role Not Yet Clear

Though he was considered a steal for the Warriors at No. 7 and has already gotten some hard-earned praise from coaches and teammates through Summer League and the preseason, Kuminga’s role with the team is not yet certain. As Kendra Andrews of NBC Sports Bay Area noted, Kuminga is still seen as a raw prospect, and Kerr admitted that he wasn’t quite sure how the teenage wing would fit into the team’s rotation.

“I think that’s kind of the question going into this year,” Kerr said on October 3. “It’s what we’re going to have to figure out.”

Fellow lottery pick Moses Moody, considered by many to be the more NBA-ready of the team’s two first-round picks, has been working his way into the rotation slowly. He has averaged 4.5 minutes over the team’s first two games, wins over the Lakers and Clippers, scoring just two points on 1-of-3 shooting. There could be an opportunity for Moody to find more minutes this week as Andre Iguodala is nursing a sore left hip and could miss some time.

Like Kuminga, Moody has impressed his teammates and coaches. As Monte Poole of NBC Sports Bay Area noted, Kerr gave uncharacteristic praise about how quickly he’s adjusted to the speed and complexity of the NBA.

“We’ve seen him in the last few days start to pick up on things,” Kerr said during the preseason, via NBC Sports Bay Area. “The first few days were kind of a whirlwind for him. But it’s a testament to his basketball instinct how quickly he’s picking things up.”

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