Draymond Green returned from an 11-game absence in the Warriors' 116-108 home victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves on Monday night. According to Golden State's power forward, he could barely contain his excitement.
"I felt like a kid in a candy store the last few days," Green said after the game, "just getting to play again."
Green's prolonged absence was due to a sprained right big toe, a pesky injury for someone who often finds himself battling bigger bodies in the paint. In his first chance to test out that toe in live game action, Green came away no worse for the wear.
"It felt good, really had no issues at all," Green said of his toe. "And afterwards I still feel the same, which is always important."
Based on his stat line in the victory, it appears Green didn't miss a beat. He accounted for seven points, 10 rebounds, seven assists and a block in the win, while reassuming his position as quarterback of the defense. He did have a favorite play in his first game back, but it happened to be on offense.
With the game clock winding down at the end of the first half, Warriors guard Stephen Curry saw Green wide open next to the Timberwolves' basket. He lobbed Green an alley-oop, but rather than finish the play himself, Green made an acrobatic pass to Klay Thompson on the wing, who promptly drained a buzzer-beating 3-pointer.
When asked to explain why he made the pass, Green provided a very honest answer.
"Realistically, I was gassed," Green described during his postgame press conference. "I had no energy to go for the layup and I saw Klay open.
"Steph threw me a lob. There was no way I was catching a lob."
Green is known for his passion on the floor, and his time away from the game and his teammates was admittedly tough on him.
"I was just excited to be back out there," Green told NBC Sports Bay Area's Kerith Burke immediately following the victory. "You know, I always want to bring what I bring to this team. That's communication, that's defense, try to push the tempo a little bit and I think, you know, as I get my feet back under me, get my legs back under me, I'll continue to get better at it."
Green certainly didn't look too rusty in his first game back, and if he continues to get better, well, that's bad news for the rest of the league.
As Green departed his postgame interview with Burke, she asked him what he feels building within the team given that the Warriors are getting healthier and currently riding a four-game winning streak.
"A run," Green said with a smirk.
With Green back in tow, what's to stop them?