The Golden State Warriors are getting ready for their hardest game of the young season: a road contest against the defending-champion Denver Nuggets, who are off to a blistering start. Led by another clinical start from two-time MVP Nikola Jokić, the Nuggets sport the best record in the NBA at 7-1, with a garbage-time adjusted net rating of +10.2, which ranks third in the league and tops in the Western Conference.
So needless to say, it’s going to take a great performance for the Dubs. Unfortunately, they’re down a critical player ... but Denver won’t have much sympathy, as they’re missing a star, too.
Here’s the full injury report.
Out — Draymond Green (personal reasons)
After missing all of training camp and the first two games of the season with an ankle injury, Draymond has been a constant presence in the lineup, and his offense has been rejuvenated, even if his defense is still rounding into shape. From a team standpoint, his loss for this game is huge. With respect to the great Kevon Looney, Green is the Warriors best defensive player against Jokić, and I think you could make the case that Dray — not Steph Curry — has been the most important Warrior during matchups against Denver. But of course, when someone misses a game due to personal reasons, we shouldn’t waste much time worrying about the team. Just hoping that everything is fine with Draymond and his family. Green’s wife, Hazel, is pregnant with their child, so that’s likely the reason for the absence. Hopefully all goes smoothly if that’s the case!
Questionable — Gary Payton II (illness)
Believe it or not, GPII has also been a critical defender against Jokić at times. Steve Kerr loves to try out unique defensive matchups, and with no player on the team being able to stop Jokić from bullying through them or shooting over them, Kerr often turns to a smaller player who can be a pest when the Nuggets big man puts the ball on the floor. Payton has been one of the best players for the Warriors this year, so his loss would be huge, regardless of the matchup.
Out — Jamal Murray (right hamstring strain)
It’s a big bummer to see Murray injured, and a bigger bummer still that it seems as though he’ll be out for a long time, with coach Michael Malone calling it “something that will be longer than we would like.” Murray missed the entire 2021-22 season with a torn ACL, but had a phenomenal return to action last year, putting together arguably his best season while helping push the Nuggets to their first ever championship. Hopefully he’s able to make a speedy recovery.
Out — Vlatko Čančar (left knee surgery)
Čančar is an intriguing young player, though we unfortunately won’t see him for a while. He tore his ACL while preparing for the World Cup, and will miss the entire season. Heal up, Vlatko.
Probable — Nikola Jokić (right wrist inflammation)
This game certainly gets a lot easier for the Warriors if Jokić sits, considering that he’s averaging 28.4 points, 12.9 rebounds, and 8.4 assists per game, while shooting 69.8% on twos and 38.7% on threes. But I certainly would not bank on that happening.
Enjoy the game, Dub Nation!