The Warriors could get wing Kelly Oubre Jr. back right before the NBA playoffs to bring some much-needed support to Steph Curry.
The team issued a statement Thursday, saying Oubre underwent an MRI Wednesday that revealed a small avulsion fracture and ligament tear of his left wrist, and that he would be evaluated "late next week."
The MRI confirmed suspicions for the Warriors, who didn't believe they were in jeopardy of losing Oubre to season-ending surgery.
"It's sort of expected to be honest with you," Warriors coach Steve Kerr told reporters Thursday. "It's not so much a relief as it is, this is what we thought. It's just a matter of -- he's in a lot of pain. It's just going to have to heal. We'll see how long that takes."
Oubre has missed the past four games and has had lingering pain in his left wrist since spraining it in March, before a tough fall on April 9 against the Washington Wizards aggravated the injury.
The explosive small forward sat five games, then wore a splint and tried to play through the pain for five games off the bench from April 19 to April 27, but the soreness forced him back to the sidelines.
Kerr said Oubre has been able to do basketball activities to stay fresh despite being unable to compete in a game.
"He's been doing stuff with the training staff to keep his conditioning and his legs strong," Kerr said. "I don't know exactly what he's been doing, but he's doing everything that he can to try to stay ready."
Oubre has had a topsy-turvy season, starting off slow before showing some Tsunami Papi skills, before regressing again and then injuring his wrist.
Oubre is averaging 15.4 points on 43.9 percent shooting and 31.6 percent from 3-point range, with six rebounds, 1.0 steal and 0.8 blocks per game. He often split the toughest perimeter defensive assignments with Andrew Wiggins while playing with a high-energy, rim-rocking style.
Despite his inconsistencies, Oubre would be a key presence in the Warriors’ rotation upon his return. Curry is putting the team on his back and needs some more help. Adding Oubre’s spark to the lineup would be huge for the team heading into the playoffs.
It appears the Warriors (33-33) are ticketed for the play-in tournament, as they entered Thursday as the Western Conference’s No. 9 seed, one-and-a-half games ahead of the No. 10 seed San Antonio Spurs (31-34) and three games ahead of the No. 11 seed New Orleans Pelicans (30-36).
Chris B. Haynes of Yahoo! Sports reported Thursday that Oubre would need 1-2 weeks of recovery time. The play-in games begin on May 18, giving Oubre 12 days of recovery time from Thursday, which falls into the window Haynes reported. Even if the Warriors maneuver into the No. 7/No. 8 game to put themselves in a double-elimination situation, they will have to cross their fingers to get Oubre back in time.