The Golden State Warriors have announced that center Jermaine O'Neal is listed as questionable for Saturday's game against the L.A. Clippers after a collision with Glen Davis during the second quarter of Game 6.
Warriors center Jermaine O'Neal underwent an MRI earlier today that revealed a bone bruise of his right knee cap. He is listed as questionable for tomorrow night's Game 7 of the team's First Round series versus the Los Angeles Clippers.
The injury occurred with 9:39 left in the first half as both players went for a loose ball and Davis
tackled rumbled out of control into O'Neal.
With O'Neal possibly missing another game, the potential return of Festus Ezeli becomes even more important: even if he can only give a few minutes, he would add another big body to a group of reserve post players that now includes Mareese Speights, rookie Ognjen Kuzmic and D-League Call-Up Hilton Armstrong. Speights had 12 points and 6 rebounds in Game 6 and could see more minutes in Speights' absence.
Warriors could get Festus Ezeli back Saturday but hard to expect a big role if he is available. A playoff Game 7 would be his season debut.— Scott Howard-Cooper (@SHowardCooper) May 2, 2014
Nevertheless, the bigger take away from Game 6 - or rather what Game 6 reinforced - is that the Warriors are better with their small ball lineups against the Clippers: when the Warriors outscored the Clippers 52-48 in the second half, they played Armstrong and Speights less than 4 minutes combined while David Lee was in foul trouble and eventually fouled out with 9:44 left. That said, Speights' three minutes came immediately after Lee's disqualification in which he scored 7 of his 12 points.
In other words, they've proven that they can win this series by committing to small ball, but being without another center is obviously not the preferred circumstance. In a Game 7 situation, we can expect the staff to go with their best lineups and that probably meant less post players independent of O'Neal's injury.
For more on the series, check out our Warriors-Clippers playoff series section.