OAKLAND -- The Golden State Warriors have dealt with myriad injuries throughout the NBA playoffs. That burden has caused 15-year veteran Andre Iguodala to play extended minutes during the team's quest for a third consective title.
Iguodala has averaged nearly 30 minutes over his last four games. Now, after a calf injury kept him out of Game 4 of the Western Conference finals, Iguodala believes his health will be fine, even if his years in the league are numbered.
“Just a lot of minutes and overuse. I’m old,” Iguodala said after practice Saturday. “It just flared up real quick, but we have a good training staff. When you’ve been playing for five long seasons, it’s bound to come up. It’s rare that you see it. It’s hard for it to be realized. My career is almost over, anyway. So I don’t really care.”
To help Iguodala recover for the NBA Finals, which will begin Thursday, Warriors coach Steve Kerr has held the 35-year-old out of practice over the last three days, allowing him to get treatment on his left calf.
While recent weeks don't show it, Iguodala has had a relatively clean bill of health this season. He played in 68 regular-season games, averaging 5.7 points, 3.7 rebounds and 3.2 assists. His play has picked up in the postseason, as he's bumped his scoring average to 10.1 points per game, helping Golden State overcome injuries to Kevin Durant and DeMarcus Cousins.
Since joining the Warriors six years ago, Iguodala has been a vital veteran presence. Long known for his strict diet, the forward occasionally will take younger players under his wing. Two summers ago, Iguodala played a role in improving Kevon Looney's diet, helping the forward lose more than 25 pounds before his breakout third season. During Patrick McCaw's rookie season, Iguodala, unprompted, sent a box of tailored suits to McCaw's residence.
Iguodala's play and positive influence on the Warriors could end soon. Earlier this season, he told NBC Sports Bay Area's Monte Poole that he was pondering retirement. With one year left on a three-year, $48 million contract, Iguodala's decision will have to come soon. For now, he says he's focused on his fifth NBA Finals appearance.
“We have a tough series ahead. But I’m going to enjoy it,” Iguodala said. “I’m about to be done playing, anyway.”