Warriors

No surgery is successful until Steve Kerr says so

No surgery is successful until Steve Kerr says so

You know how every team in the world announces the remediation of a player injury with the pithy phrase, “The surgery was successful?" Of course you do. It happens all the time.
 
True, you roll your eyes a bit when you hear it because you find yourself asking, “If successful surgery is the cure of the patient, which nobody can know at the time of the announcement, what would constitute unsuccessful surgery?" When the doctor leaves his cellphone in the incision? When the doctor leaves a lit cigarette by the oxygen? When the doctor repairs a deviated septum by lopping off a leg?
 
Thus we are a bit grateful that the Golden State Warriors made no announcement at all on head coach Steve Kerr’s operation Friday in Durham, N.C. Indeed, had owner/investors’ front man Joe Lacob not blabbed to Bloomberg Radio about it, we still wouldn’t know.
 
But Lacob at least had the good sense not to describe the procedure as “successful,” because as we now know, nobody knows, and nobody will know until Kerr announces the end of his nightmarish symptomology.
 
Here, in fact, is what Lacob said (against, courtesy Bloomberg):
 
“It’s very unfortunate what’s happening here. He had a back surgery, (a) relatively common procedure almost two years ago now, and had a . . . relatively uncommon thing happen, which is the dura around the spinal cord got nicked and you wind up having a spinal cord leak, and ultimately headaches and other symptoms. Bad headaches. Migraines.
 
“Unfortunately usually they patch that with a blood patch and it’s over, either in a week or month, whatever. And in his case for whatever reason they just haven’t been able to solve that problem. Hopefully it was solved yesterday, He had another procedure. It’s gone on for nearly two years. Very unusual I believe. I have a medical background so I know a little bit about this. I’ve never really heard of many people having this problem for this long. We feel really bad for him, the players, everybody understands it. We just have to be in his court here and support whatever it takes for him to get back and I’m sure they will eventually solve it. Hopefully sooner rather than later and hopefully we’ll have him coaching on the court sooner rather than later.”
 
See? No “surgery was successful” claptrap. No message other than optimism that the Duke surgeons found the problem, caulked it up and Kerr can begin the process of not hating every waking moment.
 
Now that’s a medical announcement. No instant prognosis, no timetable for a return, just “it happened, we hope this is the last of it, and we hope we can get him back to the job we pay him for.”

In other words, this is a successful surgery when Steve Kerr says it is, and not a moment before. 

In fact, it seems almost distasteful to speculate on Kerr’s return because 18 months of his level of agony doesn’t get tidied up right away, and he has an interesting life view that must be heeded –  namely, that coaching isn’t all there is. True, the Warriors have not shown any signs of deterioration in his absence, so one could make the case that he needn’t hurry back.
 
But he needn’t hurry back because his cure is what matters here. His job isn’t in jeopardy despite the fact that his winning percentage is more than 100 points lower than that of his two replacements, Mike Brown and Luke Walton. His reputation has been unharmed by his absence, his replacements have been fiercely loyal and his players have been unaffected by Kerr’s medical kerfuffle.
 
(Sorry. It needed to be done.)
 
Most importantly, though, it is good to remember that this surgery won’t be a success until Kerr says it is, and that won’t be when he comes back to the bench, but when he can wake up and face the day without trepidation. He’s had 18 months of getting used to nausea and headaches, and he can now get used to neither.
 
If the surgery was successful, that is.

Report: Draymond Green plans to play vs the Clippers

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USATSI

Report: Draymond Green plans to play vs the Clippers

Programming note: Watch tonight's Warriors-Clippers game streaming live at 7:30pm on the MyTeams app.

If you were hoping to watch Draymond Green play tonight, then it appears to be your lucky day.

Draymond plans to be in uniform when the Warriors face the Clippers in Los Angeles, a source told The Undefeated's Marc Spears.

The 2017 Defensive Player of the Year sprained his right big toe in the first half vs the Grizzlies last Monday. He did not play in the second half and missed Golden State's next two games vs Milwaukee and Brooklyn.

If you don't include the game vs Memphis, the three-time All-Star is averaging 8.4 points, 7.5 rebounds, 8.5 assists, 2.0 steals and 0.9 blocks per game this season.

Drew Shiller is the co-host of Warriors Outsiders. Follow him on Twitter @DrewShiller

With Steph Curry out, Kevin Durant gets to expand his leadership role

With Steph Curry out, Kevin Durant gets to expand his leadership role

If you haven’t noticed, Kevin Durant is settling very comfortably into a leadership role with the Warriors. He’s always produced on the court and provided examples off it, but now he seems to be spreading the full expansive breadth of his wings.

The Warriors have always welcomed this. But now, with five games, three of them two time zones away, over the next seven days, they actually need it.

Stephen Curry is not likely to play this week, leaving considerably more room for Durant. Even if Draymond Green returns Monday night, and there’s a good chance he will, Durant still is positioned to carry the team.

“We’re always going to put the ball in Kevin’s hands if Steph is out,” coach Steve Kerr said. “That’s a no-brainer.”

Durant seems to sense this. Always the elegant scorer, he was a basketball maestro on Saturday, still getting his buckets, dropping an efficient 28 points, but also serving as the team’s primary catalyst in a 116-100 demolition of the Nets.

Durant recorded 11 assists in 30 minutes. It’s not easy to do that without Curry around to cash in on a few of those dimes, but Durant managed it by spoon-feeding Quinn Cook, zipping spot-on passes to Klay Thompson, finding Damian Jones in the right spot, and finding Jonas Jerebko and Jordan Bell for layups.

With Curry and Green out, Durant led the team in scoring and steals while also seizing the role of point forward.

And then, in the postgame interview session, he responded as good leaders do. He deflected the credit.

“Guys made shots tonight,” Durant said. “It was more so the shots that they made than my passes. There were a couple that were low, a couple that were tough ones but my teammates did a great job of finishing.”

Though there is at least modicum of truth to that, Durant also made sure he and his teammates recovered from the previous game, a 23-point loss to the Bucks. With the Warriors trailing most of the game, he got caught up in trying to do too much, forcing too many passes. He wound up committing six turnovers.

He committed two on Saturday.

Durant is committed to the Warriors this season. He plans to opt out of his contract in July and become a free agent, his next destination undetermined. He may come back on a massive multiyear contract to chase a few more championships. Or he may bolt for a place where the challenge is greater to satisfy his own curiosity while also silencing the few remaining skeptics.

He may want to go to a place where he is the undisputed leader of a team.

But every time Curry goes out it’s an opportunity for Durant to expand his role, to do a bit more of what he ordinarily does. Last regular season, the Warriors were 16-10 when Durant was in the lineup without Curry, but they were 5-1 under those circumstances in the playoffs.

What does it mean? It means Durant can adapt, that he has enough depth to his game -- or his “tool box,” as he calls it -- to fill most any need the Warriors have.

The Warriors face the Clippers on Monday, return home for the Hawks on Tuesday before playing three games in four nights -- Houston, Dallas and San Antonio -- in Texas. Going 5-0 is unrealistic and 4-1 is optimistic. Anything better than 3-2 would be graciously accepted.

Assuming Curry misses the next five games, Durant’s performance will be pivotal. The spotlight on him is brighter than it was a week ago. As his two NBA Finals MVP awards indicate, he is built for the challenge.