Steve Kerr is no closer toward re-joining the Golden State Warriors on their playoff run, the team’s general manager reported on Thursday, as the head coach stays sidelined due to complications from a botched 2016 back surgery.
The Warriors, shooting for their second title in three seasons under Kerr, have worked without their head coach on the sideline since Game 3 of the team’s first round series against Portland. Speaking to 95.7 FM The Game on Thursday, Myers declined to give a timetable for his head coach, in the face of the 2017 NBA Finals tip-off date on June 1:
“At this point, he’s not able to coach,” Myers said. “I wish I could say that he was. I’m sure he wishes he could as well. But that’s where we are. If something changes and he feels better, I’ll sit here — or better he’ll sit here — and tell you. But right now, I can’t say that he’s going to be coaching.”
Myers said that if Kerr starts to feel better, the Warriors would make a decision on his status, but added, “Right now, we’re not putting on any deadlines should he feel better what we would do. It’ll be based on how he feels, how long he’s felt well.”
Mike Brown has coached the club since that Game 3 switchover point in Portland, and the former Cavs and Lakers coach have sustained an undefeated record through what has been a 12-game, record-tying, run through the Western Conference playoff bracket.
Kerr has been at every Warrior practice, shootaround and even some games with his club, but never on the sideline:
“Steve’s been around,” Myers said on 95.7 The Game. “But he’s not coaching right now. If the game was tomorrow, he wouldn’t coach. So right now it’s status quo.”
As Myers relays, the distance has been hellish for his friend and co-worker:
“People have said, `Steve, should you step away? You might feel better,’ ” Myers said. “This is his sanctuary. Even though he is suffering, being at home or being removed is actually harder, if you can understand that, because this is his joy. Even though it’s a muted joy right now, this is the best thing he can feel. This is his fulfillment. This is where he gets his courage as opposed to stepping away and watch it all transpire without him. Even though he’s suffering right now, at least he’s with all of us.”
“How he’s feeling is what makes it very difficult to sit here and say that the man who is hugely responsible for us being in the Finals three years in a row — a moment he should be treasuring — can’t do it,” the G.M. said. “I know it’s painful for him more than anybody. I wish, and he wishes, too, that there was something that could get him there. But right now, we’re not at that point.”
The Warriors have some breathing room, but it hasn’t been enough for Kerr has he recovers from not only the 2016 surgery, but the spinal fluid leak that resulted, and the subsequent follow-up operation.
Via SB Nation, Warriors owner Joe Lacob recently detailed the extent of Kerr’s somehow still-underreported pain:
“It’s very unfortunate what’s happening here,” Lacob said. “He had a back surgery. Relatively common procedure almost two years ago now. And had a what is really a relatively uncommon thing happen. Which is the dura around the spinal cord got nicked. And you wind up having a spinal cord leak. And ultimately headaches and other symptoms. Bad headaches. Migraines. Unfortunately usually they patch that with a blood patch and it’s over. Either in a week or month. Whatever. And in his case for whatever reason they just haven’t been able to solve that problem.”
Through its success Golden State has afforded its beloved head coach every opportunity it can to allow him to rejoin the fold, what with limited travel and shortened series acting as a gleaming byproduct of the Warriors’ 12-0 run through the Western playoffs.
With nine full days off between the team’s Conference-clinching Game 4 win over the San Antonio Spurs on Monday and the Finals’ June 1 tipoff, it was assumed that Kerr would have a better chance to return to the atmosphere that, however briefly, relives him of his pain. To date, it appears as if this isn’t the case, but it provides for all the more reason to root for Steve Kerr as he works through the weekend before what will be his eighth NBA Finals as a player and coach.
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