Lee active for Warriors, most likely won't play vs. Grizzlies

Damion Lee cheering on bench

Damion Lee hasn't played for the Warriors since April 19 but he is getting closer to action, presuming the team has more games to play after Friday night.

Lee, who has been recovering after contracting COVID-19 in April despite receiving the vaccine, returned to the practice court and has scrimmaged the last few days in 3-on-3 and 5-on-5 settings, coach Steve Kerr said 90 minutes before tip-off of the Western Conference play-in game between the Warriors and Memphis Grizzlies at Chase Center.

Despite that update, Lee isn't expected to play Friday night in the win-or-go-home game.

"He told me he's starting to feel a lot better," Kerr said on a video conference call. "I'm going to activate him tonight and most likely not play him. I just want him to be in uniform and to be out there and to feel the jitters again. But he probably needs a few more days of conditioning to reach certain benchmarks before we're ready to put him on the floor."

In 57 games this season, Lee is averaging 6.5 points, 3.2 rebounds and 1.3 assists in 18.9 minutes.

Lee tested positive for COVID-19 on April 21, entered the NBA's Health and Safety Protocols and self-isolated at home for 11 days.

After registering the required number of negative COVID-19 tests, he was allowed the rejoin the Warriors and he met with the media on May 6 to detail his experience.

"I felt like I was hit by two cars at once," Lee said. "Every step I took, it hurt. There was pain, soreness, it felt like there was a weight on my chest for a couple of days. It was hard to breathe. Loss of appetite, and even still I don’t have my appetite all the way back. Even random headaches, brain fog where I’ll start a conversation and be in on the conversation and then five minutes in, I lose track of what I was talking about or just don’t want to talk anymore."

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If the Warriors beat the Grizzlies, they will secure the eighth seed in the West and open a first-round NBA playoff series against the Utah Jazz on Sunday in Salt Lake City. Game 2 of the series wouldn't take place until Wednesday, and Game 3 of the series is scheduled for Saturday, May 29.

Based on Kerr's comments, it's unlikely Lee would be ready for a potential Game 1 on Sunday, but Game 2 might be an option if the 28-year-old can meet the conditioning benchmarks the training staff has set for him.

First, of course, the Warriors have to win Friday to give Lee a chance to play again this season.