DALLAS -- The only real concern for the Warriors entering this season was health. They had reason to believe good health would translate to a great season and a fifth consecutive long postseason run.
That concern materialized early, with the loss of Stephen Curry in Game No. 12, and hasn’t exactly slowed down.
Poor team health, along with the public display of discord between Kevin Durant and Draymond Green last Monday night, has put the Warriors in a bit of a tailspin.
“The season, every year, is filled with peaks and valleys,” Kerr said Saturday after shootaround at American Airlines Center. “You can feel when you’ve got everything cooking and going smoothly. And you can also feel when you’ve been knocked back. That’s where we are right now.”
Knocked back is not knocked down, and nowhere near knocked out. But it hurts.
Curry has missed the past nine days and could miss at least another week. Draymond Green has missed three of the last five games and isn’t likely to be back until the middle of next week at the soonest. Alfonzo McKinnie, the out-of-nowhere forward who last month played his way into the rotation, also won’t be available Saturday against the Mavericks.
Suddenly, DeMarcus Cousins has plenty of company on the sideline.
The lengthy injury list has Kerr juggling what’s left of his roster, which was expanded late Friday night with the temporary additions of two-way players Marcus Derrickson and Damion Lee, both summoned from G-League Santa Cruz.
“We’ve got some reinforcements,” he said, forcing a smile.
The Warriors still own the best record in the NBA, tied with the Raptors at 12-4. They still have Durant, who is healthy but is coping with the emotional toll of the quarrel with Green. They still have Klay Thompson, whose shooting percentage has plummeted in the four-game absence of Curry.
If the Warriors are to dig out of their recent mediocrity anytime soon, it’ll be because Durant and Thompson have recaptured the best parts of their games.
Durant, who shot below 50 percent twice in the first 13 games, has endured three consecutive games of sub-50 percent shooting for the first time since joining the Warriors in 2016. His longest such streak as a Warrior is four in a row.
Thompson shot 43 percent overall, 30.3 from deep, over the last four games, 39.4 and 28.6 over the last three.
If those numbers don’t soon improve appreciably and Curry and Green aren’t able to return until well after Thanksgiving, the Warriors could be knocked down.
And Kerr didn’t seem particularly optimistic about quick returns from either of the disabled All-Stars.
Curry, coping with a strained groin, did light work on Saturday but has spent most of his time rehabilitating under the supervision of Rick Celebrini, the team’s director of sports medicine. Groin strains commonly last about three weeks. That would put his return sometime around Nov. 29 at Toronto.
“Steph is getting better every day,” Kerr said. “He’s made a good jump the last couple days in terms of his symptoms. He’s doing a little more each day with Rick. I talked to Rick yesterday and they both felt like it was headed in the right direction.”
Green missed two games with a sprained toe before returning Monday to squabble with Durant while playing 43 minutes against the Clippers. Green was suspended for Tuesday’s game with the Hawks and conceded he spent most of the day icing his toe. He returned to play 24 ineffective minutes Thursday at Houston.
He’s obviously still dealing with pain.
“We decided to give him some time off,” Kerr said. “We don’t know how long it will be, but the toe injury has been lingering. He was on a minutes restriction (in Houston). He felt and our training staff felt we’re spinning our wheels a little bit if we keep playing him and it gets a little worse. We’ve got to get him better.”
Meanwhile, the remaining Warriors look mostly to Durant and Thompson. As well they should. If they get it going, this is a blip. If they don’t, this can become a significant dip.