Kerith Burke

How young Warriors face unique challenges during coronavirus pandemic


How young Warriors face unique challenges during coronavirus pandemic

Editor’s note: Kerith Burke, NBC Sports Bay Area’s Warriors reporter, will take you inside the Dubs as only she can with the Ask Kerith Mailbag. Send her a question on Twitter or Instagram using the hashtag #askKerith.


HELLO EVERYONE! I’m imagining we’re sitting next to each other, and we are high-fiving and watching basketball. We’re happy! We’re in a crowd! We’re eating nachos!

I’m lucky I live by some open space where I can see green grass and trees. I’m going outside for walks to keep my sanity.

San Francisco’s shelter-in-place order to halt the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic came down on March 16. That order has been extended for the Bay Area until at least May 3. That was tough news to get, but it’s for the best to prevent the spread of the virus, protect people’s lives and keep the situation as manageable as possible for healthcare workers. Thank you to everyone doing their part to get us through this.

Let’s talk Warriors for a change of pace! All of these questions come from Instagram.

Game on!

@Minwoo_kimm I think Klay’s rehab has been addressed before but how is he now? Is Klay still on the same timeline in his rehab process or has it been affected by COVID-19?

Warriors guard Klay Thompson has been unavailable to reporters this season, so I’ve only spoken to him on a few occasions. The memorable times were when he took over as the sideline reporter, and when I covered his jersey retirement at Washington State University. He’s not on social media much, either.

I mention this to say I’m not certain how he’s doing. But I can give you an educated guess based on what I went through when I had ACL surgery. The usual disclaimers apply: I'm not a doctor, I don’t know the specifics of Klay’s injury and recovery times can vary.

At the three-month mark, my physical therapist had me run on a treadmill. At the six-month mark, I was cleared for duty at work. I am not a pro athlete, however, and explosive cutting or jabs were not part of my day-to-day. It took me a year to feel “normal” again, and about 18 months to get over the fear of re-injury.

Klay has the resources of a pro athlete at his disposal, so my educated guess is he’s on schedule and feeling great. Nothing we’ve seen indicates otherwise. Practice video of Klay from early March shows him working out on a side court, sinking threes and jumpers. He was not cleared for contact, but he was around the team during the parts of practice the media could see. Involvement is good!

Klay had surgery on July 2, 2019. The Opening Ceremony for the Olympics was supposed to be this July 24 before it was postponed to 2021. There was a chance Klay would make Team USA’s roster, consistent with a year-long recovery and his hunger to get back on the court.

What is Klay doing now? If he has access to a hoop, he’s there. The final part of any player’s rehab is getting back to game speed, which is difficult during COVID-19’s social distancing guidelines. I bet he’s doing lots of cardio and as many basketball-themed workouts as possible to regain strength.

The final part of ACL recovery is the mental side. I remember seeing my progress during each physical-therapy session, but also being frustrated at the ways I could see my leg was weak.

For Klay, I imagine he was counting down the days to getting back on a court and now, who knows when that day will be. I feel sad for the frustration Klay probably feels about a delayed return to his happy place.

@chrisrosenthatl13 What’s your view on Marquese’s future with the Warriors? I see so many people adamant about drafting Wiseman or Toppin, and it shocks me, like they haven’t watched a single Warriors game this season.

Marquese Chriss has been a gem. Alongside a wounded Kevon Looney and Draymond Green’s occasional stints at center, Marquese has been a reliable, impactful addition.

The fact that the Warriors chose to keep Marquese and waive Alfonzo McKinnie at the start of the season, waive Chriss in January but make certain to bring him back AND give him a two-year deal shows they see him as part of the plan, at least for next season.

I expect the Warriors will take care of a guy who works hard for them, on a budget.

That said, I recall Steve Kerr said the Warriors will draft a center. Who they pick and in what round remains to be seen, or whether the Warriors sign a free agent, but I think that pick will join Marquese to fulfill an important role on the team. Under normal circumstances, the Warriors run a lot of offense through the high post. Having options at that position is beneficial. “Center by committee” has been the pattern in recent seasons.

@marinchef How are the young guys doing on their own? This has got to be hard on the single players?!

I follow everyone on the roster on Instagram, and their posts are clues about how they’re holding up. They seem bored!

I learned the training staff asked the players to complete 10 workouts a week. Eric Paschall posted an Instagram story from his bike, saying he can’t wait to get back on the court. Basic workout routines are the best they can do right now.

The Warriors’ young guys play a lot of video games. I don’t know how much time exactly, but in this story about the Charlotte Hornets, it was eye-popping to read WIllie Hernangomez is playing eight-to-10 hours a day.

Like you, I’ve been thinking about the young players who are far from home. Paschall is from New York. Jordan Poole is from Wisconsin. Ky Bowman is from North Carolina. Mychal Mulder is from Windsor, Ontario. If these players stayed in the Bay Area, I hope they’re not feeling strained or lonely.

The last time Kerr did a conference call, I asked him if the team is providing resources for players to handle the mental side of shelter-in-place orders. He said yes, and expressed how bad he feels for Mulder.

Even though guys can’t be around their teammates, it seems like a good time to be part of a team for people to lean on.

Listen and subscribe to the Runnin' Plays Podcast:

@thicc__nicck Hey Kerith! Are the Warriors players making an honest, real effort to stay game-ready, knowing the limitations of working out today but also knowing that they’re the only playoff-eliminated team? Wouldn’t really judge them if they went full give-up mode and ate hot Cheetos and drank beer haha

Ha, I wouldn’t judge either, knowing my cheese consumption lately. I’m enjoying some comfort snacks.

Based on their Instagrams and what it takes to be a professional in general, the guys are keeping in shape. It’s a must. For many of them -- rookies, minimum contract guys, former G League guys -- they know if they slip up, their futures won’t be long in the NBA. They worked hard to get here in the first place.

Steph Curry and his wife Ayesha have been posting workouts from their home gym. I’m jealous of their Pelotons. Did you see the video of Canon getting in on the action?

As far as we know, the NBA is coming back this season. Players know if they’re not physically prepared to resume the action, they’re going to be embarrassed. These are competitive folks to begin with. No one wants to look inferior.

@jacobshiffer93 What player do you think has the best survival skills to last a long-term quarantine?

Steph came to mind right away because of his resources. Strong family support, a nice house, the finances to stock up on goods and a positive disposition to get him through tough times.

Should society dismantle altogether and suddenly zombies are in the mix, he can outrun them or dunk on their faces. His line to Dr. Fauci would keep him up to date on the latest developments for survival.

[RELATED: Warriors' Welts only has one box score framed in his office]

@dannyfantasma30 Who is the better cook, you or your husband?

My husband, BY FAR. I’m not a complete moron in the kitchen, but I stay lazy and rely on the microwave or boiling water to shape our dinners. My husband whips things up from scratch.

We are eating well, thanks to his creativity. After he works a full day in his home office (a desk in the corner of our living room), he says he likes the mental switch to something completely different. More power to him. I am greatly benefiting from this arrangement.

@evenstrongerps4 What talent do you wish you had? #AskKerith

I wish I could speak Spanish fluently. For some people, this is not a talent, it’s a way of life, but I wish I studied abroad to become fluent. Right now, I have fragments of memory for vocabulary and verbs that I learned in high school and college. I need to take this knowledge further before it fades.

Follow Kerith on Twitter @KerithBurke and on Instagram @warriorskerith.

Kerith Burke misses one thing about sports during coronavirus stoppage

Kerith Burke misses one thing about sports during coronavirus stoppage

Editor's note: Like you, NBC Sports Bay Area insiders, reporters and analysts are feeling the sports void during the coronavirus stoppage. They'll share their thoughts every Monday, Wednesday and Friday in "What I Miss About Sports." First up in the series: Warriors reporter Kerith Burke.

A career in sports took me away from home. Games brought me to cities I had never seen before -- Miami, Chicago, Houston, Phoenix. When I worked in New York, the time-zone difference meant I was three hours ahead of my family out West in Washington.

My dad could watch the network I worked for, thanks to an awesome TV sports package at his gym. When I sat down to anchor a show at 10:30 p.m. ET, he’d hop on an elliptical machine at 7:30 p.m. PT to watch. We had a routine.

After work, I knew I’d have a text from my dad. “Nice show tonight.” Or, “Good energy.”

Sometimes, “A few stumbles.” Or, “Not your best show.” Oh yeah, he kept it real.

I knew my dad was watching, at a job where it helps to pretend no one is watching to keep down the nerves. It was an audience of one, and he was proud of me. It became reflexive to check my phone to see his messages.

That’s what I miss about sports. The togetherness across the miles. The connectivity. We debated whether Carmelo Anthony should leave the Knicks, and if Mets pitcher Matt Harvey really had the stuff or simply had a moment in time.

When I moved to the Bay Area, my parents ordered NBA League Pass to watch Warriors games. My mom got in on the texting.

“What are you wearing and where are you sitting?” Spotting me on TV was my family’s "Where’s Waldo."

The NBA’s hiatus feels like a broken link to my favorite people. That feeling carries beyond my family, too.

[RELATED: Warriors' creative workouts during coronavirus stoppage]

So much of my career has revolved around a sports schedule: Working nights, weekends and holidays. Career becomes purpose becomes identity. Devote so much time to something, and it defines you. I’m fortunate to love my job, so I embrace the definition. I am a sports reporter.

At the moment ... I am adrift.

How Warriors are getting creative with workouts during coronavirus halt

How Warriors are getting creative with workouts during coronavirus halt

On March 18, Adam Silver outlined three possibilities for the NBA to resume from its coronavirus (COVID-19) hiatus. Basketball will be played again, but how do players keep their conditioning up for the game’s return? 

Superstar players like Warriors guard Steph Curry and Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James have home gyms. LeBron frequently posts his workouts on Instagram.

But for newer players in the league or those with fewer resources, teams are getting creative with fitness programs. The workouts might need to fit in a player’s one-bedroom apartment. 

Warriors head performance coach Carl Bergstrom recently told NBC Sports Bay Area that any player who stayed in the Bay Area and needed equipment to work out received a Keiser stationary bike and two or three sets of dumbbells delivered to his home. Additional tools include resistance bands, jump ropes, and balance pads. 

The Warriors’ performance staff has players on a program where they do a total of ten workouts a week, Monday through Saturday. The workouts combine activities, like an upper body lift followed by a bike ride. 

Bergstrom explained that athletes can show reduced physical qualities like speed or power in just five-to-seven days if fitness routines fall off. Some fitness markers take up to four weeks to be impacted.

“Aerobic qualities take longer (to fade), but you want to keep it high,” he said.

Additionally, Warriors director of player development Chris DeMarco told NBA Sports Bay Area the training staff and coaches are checking in with players frequently. 

“Each situation is unique to the player. We have multiple players rehabbing,” DeMarco said.

Juan Toscano-Anderson sprained his ankle during the last game the Warriors played on March 10. He told NBC Sports Bay Area he’s still in a walking boot, which limits what kinds of workouts he can do.

“I’ll add more soon when I can,” Toscano-Anderson said. 

He plans on riding the bike once he’s out of the boot, then building up to running outside.

[RELATED: How Warriors reporter is getting through hiatus]

The Warriors are adapting to changes while the league waits to resume. Bergstrom said the workouts are designed to combine mobility and flexibility drills, balance drills and injury prevention drills, along with strength, power, and fitness work. 

Working out for an indefinite time with no date circled on the calendar to go back to team facilities puts the Warriors, and the NBA at large, in a unique situation.

“It’s obviously different from the end of the season where you can put a plan in place with a target date,” DeMarco said.