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Andrew Wiggins nears return to Warriors after missing 22 games

Golden State Warriors v Denver Nuggets

DENVER, COLORADO - FEBRUARY 02: Andrew Wiggins #22 of the Golden State Warriors plays the Denver Nuggets in the fourth quarter at Ball Arena on February 2, 2023 in Denver, Colorado. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)

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Andrew Wiggins has been away from the Warriors since mid-February dealing with a family medical issue. The Warriors have given him all the time and space he needed, but hoped he would return before the playoffs.

It looks like that will happen. Wiggins is back in the Bay Area and will be at Tuesday night’s game against the Thunder, but will not play yet, according to reports from Adrian Wojnarowski at ESPN and Shams Charania of The Athletic.

The hope is to get Wiggins in game shape and little time on the court before the playoffs, but what matters most is that he is back and ready to roll when the postseason starts. Wiggins averaged 17.1 points, five rebounds and 2.3 assists per game, but more importantly he plays a key defensive role for Golden State, its defense is 3.1 points per 100 possessions better when he is on the court.

The Warriors went 12-10 in the games Wiggins missed, but they did not push him to return. The Warriors are currently fifth in the West but are part of a four-team grouping from the 5-8 seeds all tied in the loss column.

“He’s a great player, but he’s a great human being,” Steve Kerr said last month, via NBC Sports Bay Area. “He’s just a great teammate, I love coaching him. So anytime you see one of your guys struggling, dealing with something, all you can do is support that player and give them space and that’s what we’ve tried to do.”