OAKLAND – Now in his fifth week on the sideline with a sprained left ankle, Harrison Barnes is shooting, cutting and has been dunking for two weeks.
The fourth-year forward is scrimmaging with his teammates on practice days.
But he’s not quite ready to return to the Warriors lineup.
Listed as doubtful for Monday night’s game against the Kings at Oracle Arena, Barnes two hours before tipoff was declared out by interim coach Luke Walton.
“He took place in the scrimmages, the 3-on-3,” Walton said. “There’s nothing more you can really do than scrimmage, as far as testing it out. All the drills you do on the sideline. There’s nothing like fighting over screens, changing directions and making quick decisions when it comes to testing that ankle. He’s been doing that stuff.
“He looks better, but he’s still not ready to go.”
The game Monday night is the 13th Barnes has missed, which is resulted in Brandon Rush moving into the starting lineup. The Warriors are 11-1 in the previous 12 games.
But Barnes’ absence is felt mostly when the Warriors turn to their small lineup. As a natural small forward who slides to power forward in that lineup, Barnes is unique for his ability to effectively defend big men.
There is not yet a timetable for his return.
“I’m sure we’re close enough,” Walton said. “But it’s kind of up to (Barnes) and the training staff. We game-plan for the guys that are going to be available.
“Whenever Harrison’s ready to play . . . he’s done more in practice, which is great to see. But we’re kind of out of that process as far as when that game is. When they tell us he’s ready to go, then we’ll get him back in there.”
Barnes sustained the injury when landing upon the foot of Suns forward Markieff Morris in the Nov. 27 home game against Phoenix.