Golden State Warriors starting Center, Damian Jones has been officially diagnosed with a torn pectoral muscle. After leaving in the second quarter of last night’s game against the Detroit Pistons with what was vaguely described as a “shoulder issue,” a post-game MRI revealed some bad news: torn left pectoral muscle, probably requiring surgery; and potentially ending his season.
Jones, who missed much of his first year after tearing the right pectoral muscle in training camp of his rookie year, will see a specialist in Chicago on Tuesday to further evaluate the recovery options. According to Steve Kerr, this injury will sideline Jones for “at least a few months” but could be season-ending depending on the surgery recovery timeline.
A truly unfortunate blow for a young man who was working hard all season and had been showing inconsistent flashes of excellence as the Warriors’ starting Center for most of the season.
Steve Kerr details everything with Damian Jones’ injury pic.twitter.com/hrqs2iQgZx— Mark Medina (@MarkG_Medina) December 2, 2018
Derrikson called up, Green close to return - but Warriors will evaluate their options
In that clip, coach Steve Kerr mentions that the team hasn’t yet evaluated any roster-altering changes. In the meantime, they’ll call up Marcus Derrikson from the G League affiliate. Derrikson hasn’t produced any eye-popping statistics, but his entry could inject some excitement into a
backup bigs rotation that has been found somewhat wanting so far this season.
The answer alluded to potential roster moves, but it’s hard for me to imagine an available free agent big man that could step in and immediately help. Given the options at the team’s disposal, this probably just means more tinkering with our current rotation of bigs.
Draymond Green was already slated to return within the next few games according to the team, but as per the team, that may be pushed back even further.
Draymond Green now “unlikely” to return during this road trip, per Kerr. Alfonzo McKinnie targeting his return in Cleveland on Wednesday.— Anthony Slater (@anthonyVslater) December 2, 2018
Jones has played the 7th most minutes on the team to date - leaving an intriguing opening in the Warriors frontcourt rotation. While there isn’t any one clear answer, the Warriors do have a number of potential solutions.
One of the more interesting questions will be if this hastens the return of Demarcus Cousins at all. The team has been tight-lipped and cautious with his recovery timeline, but if he’s healthy and ready, it may make sense to take a fresh look at his return date.
If nothing else, this may be one of those moves that forces Kerr’s hand into a more favorable situation - much like when an injury to David Lee helped Kerr realize Draymond’s place in the starting lineup. Whether that be Kevon Looney’s steady hand, or Jordan Bell’s high octane output - this extremely unfortunate injury will force a shakeup at a position that has been uncertain all season.
On the other hand, it’s important to note that this is an issue primarily driven by player availability rather than any of Kerr’s idiosyncrasies as a coach. As Daniel Hardee noted in his recap, the Warriors ran out their eighth different starting lineup of the season last night. This roster is really built around having Demarcus Cousins as our starting center - without both him and Green, the cupboards may be a bit bare when we look for starting Center solutions on the bench.