OAKLAND -- Warriors coach Steve Kerr announced Sunday, exactly six weeks after disclosing he was stepping away from the team for health reasons, that he would be back on the bench for Game 2 of the NBA Finals.
For the first time since Game 2 of the first round against Portland, Kerr strolled into the interview room for the pregame news conference, which he opened by delivering the news of his return.
“Last couple weeks have been good in terms of running practice, film sessions, coaches meetings, that kind of stuff,” Kerr said. “I wanted to string together a few good days, I did that, and (I’m) feeling well enough to coach.”
Kerr said he made the decision Sunday morning after feeling pretty good on Friday and Saturday. He had not yet informed the team, but didn’t think his return would surprise anyone on the roster insofar as he has been a constant presence now for more than three weeks.
Mike Brown, who led the Warriors to an 11-0 record while serving as acting head coach in Kerr’s absence, returns to his role as lead assistant.
“But it doesn't matter,” Kerr said. “Whether it's . . . like I said, it's whether it's Mike or me, we're doing the same stuff.”
Kerr, who last coached on April 19 against the Trail Blazers, did not wish to discuss health-related details. He took a leave of absence on April 23 to seek a remedy to the chronic pain -- that took a turn for the worse in mid-April -- he has felt since undergoing two back surgeries in the summer of 2015.
A non-invasive procedure at the Duke University Spine Center on May 4 did not achieve the desired results, Kerr told NBCSportsBayArea.com. Though he still is experiencing pain, mostly related to severe headaches, Kerr has felt good enough to be around the team in a regular basis since May 12.
Returning to the bench, however, is a giant step.
“I feel like it's back where it was before the Portland series,” Kerr said. “And as I told you guys when I stepped aside in Portland, I don't know what happened. I don't know why things got worse.
“But since that time, and it's probably been, I don't know, five, six weeks, I've gotten a lot better and I feel like I'm back to the baseline of where I was during the regular season when I coached every game, as you know.”