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Golden State’s players mindset: Don’t expect Steve Kerr back during these playoffs

Golden State Warriors v Cleveland Cavaliers

CLEVELAND, OH - DECEMBER 25: Draymond Green #23 of the Golden State Warriors talks to head coach Steve Kerr during the first half against the Cleveland Cavaliers at Quicken Loans Arena on December 25, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio. 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. Mandatory copyright notice. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)

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Steve Kerr has been meeting with experts at Stanford University’s hospital, working to find the location/cause of the leaking spinal fluid that has sidelined him during the playoffs (and bothered him since his multiple back surgeries more than a year ago). There is no timetable for his return, but he could be back during the playoffs if doctors can find the problem.

That optimism is not how the team is looking at these playoffs.

Draymond Green explained the team’s mindset on Monday, a day before they tip-off their second-round series against the Jazz — with Mike Brown filling in for Kerr. From Monte Poole of NBCSports Bay Area.

“I think the way we look at it is plan on him (Kerr) not coming back,” Draymond Green told reporters on Monday. “That’s the way we’re approaching this thing ... Mike Brown is our coach, we have the rest of our staff, and that’s who we’re rolling with.

“We’re gonna hope and pray that Steve gets better and can get back. But at the end of the day, his health is more important than anything ... we know how bad he wanted to be here and how bad we would love for him to be here. But at the end of the day, he needs to take care of what he has to take care of.

“And whether that’s this year or next year, then you know, we’re ready. But we’re gonna approach this entire thing as ‘Steve isn’t coming back.’ And that’s our approach for this entire playoffs until we hear otherwise...”

Hard to fault the team here, it’s really the only mindset they can have. The team has to focus on the next game, the next level of competition, they can’t be betting on the cavalry to come charging over the hill. Mike Brown was brought in partially for a situation like this — he has coached a team to the NBA Finals, he has handled the big egos of LeBron James and Kobe Bryant, he can guide this team. Steve Kerr was the architect and home building, Brown is just the renter trying not damage the place.

Golden State played the start of last season with Luke Walton in the big chair for Kerr, and they got off to the fastest start in NBA history. This team is used to playing without Kerr. That said, they may miss his ability to push the right buttons when it gets to the conference finals or NBA Finals. I’m not sure Utah can provide that kind of challenge.