OAKLAND – Despite growing speculation to the contrary, Warriors coach Steve Kerr will not return to full-time duties Saturday night.
Interim head coach Luke Walton, as he has all season, will be running the operation when the Warriors face the Denver Nuggets at Oracle Arena.
Kerr, who has been on leave of absence since Sept. 30, was at the team’s shootaround Saturday morning and has attended every scheduled practice and shootaround since the week of Dec. 14.
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Guard Klay Thompson said he sees virtually no difference between Kerr’s presence at recent practices and his presence last season, when he led the Warriors to a championship.
“It seems like he (picked up) right where he was last year,” Thompson said Saturday. “We’re on edge a little bit more when Steve’s back, because it’s like, ‘Oh, shoot, the head coach is back.’ You don’t want to slip up. It’s good for us and makes practice that much better.”
Kerr’s return date will be dictated by two factors, the state of his physical health and his ability to project how he would handle the increased workload. His back has held up well. His headaches have diminished in severity, but they have not completely gone away.
Kerr is by all accounts getting close to returning and the players can sense it.
“I’m not sure when; it could be any day now, it could be a couple weeks,” Thompson said. “But he’s very active now at practice. It feels like he’s already back.”