For the first game of a crucial road trip, the Golden State Warriors won’t have three of their big men on the big stage. A really big stage called the Alamodome.
Jonathan Kuminga, James Wiseman and JaMychal Green all remain out for the Warriors tomorrow to open their road trip in San Antonio. Nobody else listed on the injury report.— Anthony Slater (@anthonyVslater) January 12, 2023
That’s three missing players, including two rotation mainstays in Green and Kuminga. Still, having only three players on the injury report might feel like a luxury for coach Steve Kerr after the past few weeks. There isn’t a single starter out for Friday night’s game against the San Antonio Spurs, which means Golden State has a fighting chance of getting their fourth road victory of the season, which would tie them with the Houston Rockets for 29th in the league.
Kuminga returned to practice yesterday after missing four games with a sprained foot, so he should be returning once he gets some high-intensity practice reps. For a team that’s often lacked intensity, and went nearly 20 minutes before drawing their first foul against the Phoenix Suns, Kuminga has become an invaluable bench player. It’s unfortunate he’ll miss a chance to play the Spurs again, as he scored 15 points and was +24 in his 25 minutes during their first meeting.
Kerr told reporters, “We miss JK’s force and his versatility defensively. It’s going to be good to get that.”
The Warriors also issued updates on their other injured big men.
Warriors provide injury updates. Most notable aspect is that Jonathan Kuminga is back in practice today. Warriors currently getting a workout in San Antonio. Wiseman/JaMYchal Green back into practice in coming days. https://t.co/Jpx6BB85Uk— Anthony Slater (@anthonyVslater) January 13, 2023
JaMychal Green is finally working his way back after doctors finally got the infection in his leg under control. That infection, coupled with his earlier illness, has cost Green in terms of strength and conditioning, so there’s an expectation that he’ll return to practice soon once those get back up to normal. That’s also the plan for James Wiseman, who has missed five games with an ankle sprain. Reading between the lines, don’t expect either player back on the floor during this five-game road trip.
Kuminga’s return might mean that the Warriors can delay a decision on forward Anthony Lamb, who has played in 33 of the team’s 41 games so far. As a two-way player, his limit is 50, so having Kuminga back, along with Andre Iguodala, should allow the Warriors to make Lamb inactive occasionally. The other option is to sign him to a regular contract and fill the team’s lone open roster spot.
Until then, Kevon Looney and Draymond Green will do the bulk of the big man work against the young Spurs and a player who could also solve the Warriors depth issues if San Antonio agreed to deal him, center Jakob Poeltl. He may be auditioning for a new team in front of an NBA-record crowd of over 64,000. No pressure, buddy!