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Damian Jones is unlikely to play again this year

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Don’t count on seeing the third-year center return in the postseason.

NBA: Orlando Magic at Golden State Warriors Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Damian Jones is unlikely to return to action for the Golden State Warriors this season.

The third-year center has been out since the start of December, when he tore his left pectoral muscle. There was some optimism that Jones might return for the playoffs, but that is no longer looking like the case.

At practice on Thursday, coach Steve Kerr made it clear that we’re unlikely to see Jones until next season.

“He hasn’t done anything live, he’s just now starting basketball stuff,” Kerr said, prompted by media members who saw Jones getting in some work on the court. “. . . He’s been on the court the last week or two, just getting some reps in individually.”

Asked if it was doubtful that Jones would return, Kerr quickly answered, “Yeah it’s doubtful, but it’s a possibility.”

With the signing of Andrew Bogut, the Warriors can certainly afford to not have Jones come back. In all likelihood, he wasn’t going to play much in the postseason, if at all.

But he still factors into the Warriors long-term plans. Of the five centers on the roster - Jones, Bogut, DeMarcus Cousins, Kevon Looney, and Jordan Bell - Jones is the only one under contract for 2019-20.

He’ll look to build on this season, when he got steady playing time for the first time in his young career. He averaged 5.4 points, 3.1 rebounds, 1.2 assists, and 1.0 blocks per game, in 17.1 minutes a night.