OAKLAND — After emerging from the Warriors locker room Saturday night with a slight limp, saying he’ll “be fine,” Draymond Green seemed optimistic and sincere.
What he doesn’t know is whether that will apply to Monday, when the Warriors face the Hornets in Charlotte, or if recovery will take days or weeks after that.
Green was hopping in pain before dropping to the floor after his left foot landed atop the right foot of Warriors center DeMarcus Cousins early in the fourth quarter of a 118-112 loss to the Houston Rockets. Green was diagnosed with a left ankle sprain and did not return.
Dray was in visible pain and went to the locker room after stepping on Boogie’s foot pic.twitter.com/gFAa2BZOeD— Warriors on NBCS (@NBCSWarriors) February 24, 2019
Asked if he thought he might miss any games, the seventh-year power forward said he didn’t think so.
“But I’ll see how it feels tomorrow,” he added. “I’ll head in for some treatment before the flight (to North Carolina) and see how it goes.”
Assuming Green is forced out of one or more games, the Warriors will be tested on offense and really put in a bind on defense.
“It puts a (defensive) burden on everybody,” DeMarcus Cousins said. “He covers a lot of guys’ backs on the floor. Obviously, it’s going to increase the pressure for everybody. And the guy that has to step up behind him as well. Everybody has to pick it up.”
Green said he sustained an initial sprain in the first quarter and tried to play through it. He was not as effective as usual, on either end of the floor. He played 24 minutes, scoring 4 points on 2-of-6 shooting from the field, missing both his 3-point attempts and also two free throws.
If Green has to sit out, coach Steve Kerr will determine his replacement based on matchups. There are four viable candidates: forward/guard Andre Iguodala at small forward, with Kevin Durant moving to power forward; Jordan Bell or Jonas Jerebko at power forward; and Alfonzo McKinnie, a combo forward who on Saturday, for the first time this season, was healthy but did not enter the game.
The Warriors hope none of the four will be forced into the starting lineup.
“He was in good spirits after the game, so I’m assuming it’s not anything serious,” Stephen Curry said. “But you don’t want anything like that to linger, especially at this point in the season.”