SAN FRANCISCO — While Andre Iguodala continues to make positive progress in recovering from a disc injury in his neck, the seasoned veteran has been ruled out for at least another week, meaning he’ll miss Game 3, 4 and 5 of the Western Conference semifinals series.
Coach Steve Kerr is hopeful that Iguodala, 38, will be able to return at some point during the playoffs. But in general, the Warriors aren’t banking on his return.
“I don’t think anybody’s assuming he’s coming back,” Draymond Green said Friday after practice. “If he comes back, great. It’d be fantastic but… you can’t just wait on that. You have to move forward.”
The Warriors signed Iguodala last offseason to a one-year deal giving him an opportunity to end his career with the franchise. Golden State knew Iguodala wasn’t the same player he was during his first run with the team, but the Warriors saw his value on the defensive end of the floor and as a backup playmaker.
Injuries hampered Iguodala throughout the regular season, which limited him to just 31 games.
“It hurts him to not be able to play but this is the reality of where he is in his career and the mileage he has on his body,” Kerr said of Iguodala being sidelined by his most recent injury, an issue with his left cervical disc. “He’s done so much for this organization, he wants to do more, but the reality is his body hasn’t held up. We’re hoping to get him back.”
Added Stephen Curry, “This year it’s been tough on him… trying to be available first and foremost with where he is in his career, it’s been a long year for him [going] back and forth with rehab and all that, and I think the hope is that come this time of year, he can be at his peak. And he hasn’t had the opportunity to do that.”
Iguodala brings tremendous value to the Warriors even if he’s not able to play. He’s a valuable voice in the locker room and during games. He also serves as a mentor to the younger players, like Jonathan Kuminga and Moses Moody.
Still, his presence on the court and high basketball IQ are obviously missed with him being out.
“It’s been different,” Green said. “That’s someone you can always turn to to settle things down… and just his smarts and his experience and the skill that he brings, that’s definitely missed. And you’re replacing [his] 17 years of experience, you’re replacing that with a half a year of experience, with two years of experience, that’s just a totally different look.
“We know when the playoffs roll around, you can turn to him and he’s going to be able to provide whatever it is that we need. And so to not have that, it’s a huge, huge loss. And this is one that we’re trying to overcome, but it’s difficult. He brings a lot to this team.”
If Iguodala does get cleared to play, Curry doesn’t think it’ll take him long to adjust to game speed.
“The good thing about him is he doesn’t need much transition time to make his presence felt just the way he plays and his approach to the game,” Curry said. “So we are banking on that if he can get healthy.”
The key word is “if.”
Contributed by local news sources