The Golden State Warriors are battling for a place in the NBA playoffs and may be shorthanded the rest of the way after a grim injury update for their starting wing.
After a big win over the Houston Rockets and with back-to-back games against the No. 11 New Orleans Pelicans on the horizon, the ninth-place Warriors are looking to lock down a place in the play-in tournament. Warriors head coach Steve Kerr emphasized the importance of the team getting rest and a bit healthier ahead of the set against the Pelicans, though there may not be time for Kelly Oubre Jr. to fix his ailments and return.
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Oubre Could Miss Significant Stretch
As Anthony Slater of The Athletic reported, Oubre’s season could be in doubt after the team determined that he tore a ligament in his left wrist and fractured his left palm after coming down awkwardly after a dunk in an April 9 contest. Though he initially returned to the team and played well for a stretch with the second unit, Oubre re-aggravated the injury this week and has been out with soreness in his wrist.
— Warriors on NBCS (@NBCSWarriors) May 2, 2021
As Slater wrote, it appears that the Warriors could be without Oubre for the rest of the season.
“What’s clear is that the rest of Oubre’s season is in jeopardy. He’s attempted to play through the pain in his shooting wrist, but it hasn’t subsided. He has an unrestricted free agency awaiting him in a few months, and his current team certainly hasn’t signaled an extreme eagerness for a long-term commitment, only muddying an ambiguous injury situation that hasn’t yet been clarified by the organization.”
Slater noted that Kerr shortened the Warriors rotation in Oubre’s absence, though the team will soon be getting Eric Paschall and Damion Lee back after both were knocked out due to the league’s health and safety protocol. But Slater noted that neither of them have the “oomph” of Oubre, who has often been the team’s second-best scoring option behind Steph Curry.
Warriors Made Commitment to Oubre
Losing Oubre to injury would be especially difficult after the Warriors made a significant commitment to the swingman this season. There had reportedly been interest in Oubre at the recently passed trade deadline, but the Warriors kept him off-limits and viewed him as an important piece to this year’s playoff push.
Kelly Oubre Jr. has a torn ligament in his left wrist and a fracture in his palm, per @ShamsCharania
He's still attempting to play through the injury pic.twitter.com/6wEVXqa9DJ
— Bleacher Report NBA (@BR_NBA) May 2, 2021
That meant Golden State turned down the chance to make a significant investment in the future, building toward what the team hopes will be another title run with the expected return of Klay Thompson next season. As Marc Stein of the New York Times reported, the Brooklyn Nets had offered the injured Spencer Dinwiddie in a trade for Oubre, who will be a free agent and not at all a lock to return to Golden State next season.
Golden State rejected those overtures because it is still desperate to make the playoffs. While numerous Oubre trade scenarios came up, Golden State was not going to trade him for someone who couldn’t help the team in the short term.
It is now unclear whether the Warriors will even have Oubre back for the short term.