In what can only be considered a #DraymondBomb, the Golden State Warriors’ All-Star power forward Draymond Green announced on “The Draymond Green Show” that he was planning to return from his back injury next Monday, March 14, against the Washington Wizards.
“I’m targeting my return next Monday the 14th vs. the Wizards. That’s the date that I’m targeting, I’m excited as hell. It’s been two and a half months by the time I’ve played,” Green said on his podcast. Aside from a token start in Klay Thompson’s return game - he played seven seconds - Green hasn’t played since January 5th. It started out as a sore calf that turned out to be caused by a sore back, because all Warriors’ injuries in the 2021-22 have to have mysterious causes and murky timelines.
His return comes at a crucial time for the Warriors, who were 29-8 when Green went down, and have gone 14-14 since, including their current five-game losing streak. Somehow the team has remained first in defensive rating with Draymond, who was the runaway Defensive Player of the Year leader before missing 28 games. But there’s obvious weaknesses in the undersized roster, particularly in their difficulty getting rebounds late in games, and the clear fatigue from overstretched Kevon Looney and Otto Porter Junior. It feels like the offense may have suffered even more, without Green’s playmaking ability to counter aggressive double-teaming of Steph Curry.
“I’ve never missed that much time during season,” Green added. “I once had an ankle injury that kept me out for a very long time in high school, but it was the offseason. This is something different for me, so I’m extremely excited to get back out there with my guys to try and help right this ship.”
The ship could certainly use some righting, but according to Monte Poole on the Dubs Talk podcast, the Warriors could soon see James Wiseman and Andre Iguodala back on the floor again.
Monte Poole says Dray (confirmed), Wiseman and Iggy will all return during next week's home stead.— Gboye (@mcgboye) March 8, 2022
The Warriors have been cautious with Green, wanting to make sure he was ready for the playoffs, no matter what the short-term damage to the team’s seeding might be as losses stacked up. But he’s repeatedly said he wants to be “prepared to dominate.” Two weeks ago, Green said “I was dominating when I got hurt, and I plan on coming back and dominating. I don’t want to limp out there trying to figure it out as I go.”
He’ll have 14 games to get acclimated - the Warriors have three home games next week with Dray, which includes three days off between Wednesday and Sunday. After that, it’s a rough five-game East Coast road trip with two back-to-backs, before two home games against the Phoenix suns and the Utah Jazz. If the team wants to see if their injured guys are playoff-ready, matching up against playoff teams is a pretty solid way to find out.
Still, any version of Draymond Green is very welcome for this team, who, despite their recent shorthanded and just plain short roster recently, are looking at going into the postseason with excellent depth, thanks to rookies Moses Moody and Jonathan Kuminga forcing their way into the rotation. As for Wiseman and Iguodala’s official status, we may need to wait for the NBA’s newest newsbreaker, Draymond Green, to record another podcast.