What Draymond Green's back injury means for Warriors' rotation

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How Warriors will fill Draymond's void for next few weeks originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea

The Warriors’ championship-core reunion, so breathlessly anticipated, is going to have to wait until next month. At the soonest.

One week after Klay Thompson’s return lifted spirits and had the franchise visualizing him rejoining fellow three-time NBA champions Stephen Curry and Draymond Green, the Warriors announced on Sunday that Green will be re-evaluated in two weeks.

Given that outlook, and the fact that Green's back is a factor, it’s conceivable he could be out deep into February.

After experiencing tightness/soreness in his left calf an hour before Thompson’s return on Jan. 9, Green limped onto the court for tipoff, committed a prearranged foul and left the game. It was a concession to the ceremony of Klay’s return after a 941-day absence.

When the Warriors headed east the next day for a four-game road trip, Green remained in the Bay Area for treatment and further examination. A battery of tests, including an MRI exam on his back revealed that the calf tightness, according to the Warriors, was “tied to the involvement of a disc in his lower back."

If there ever was a time when the Warriors could somewhat absorb losing Draymond – assuming their optimism that Curry’s hand soreness will not linger – it is it is now. The team returns to the Bay Area on Monday and on Tuesday opens a seven-game homestand with three lower-rung teams: Detroit Pistons, Indiana Pacers and Houston Rockets.

Moreover, Green’s absence allows the Warriors to get a longer, deeper look at rookie forward Jonathan Kuminga, who has shown enough lately to earn more minutes.

“JK will get more minutes for sure,” coach Steve Kerr said before tipoff against the Timberwolves in Minnesota.

Otto Porter Jr. started against the Timberwolves and likely will remain in that role while Green is out. In addition to more minutes against Kuminga, there will be more opportunities for Juan Toscano-Anderson. Some small lineups will slide small forward Andrew Wiggins to power forward, with Thompson moving up to small forward.

“We’ll do it by committee,” Kerr said. “I’m very confident we can play well in the meantime.”

Three factors will determine how the Warriors withstand the absence of Green, their primary facilitator on offense and their orchestrator on defense.

One, Curry’s status. If his hand soreness is determined to be an injury, it would be a massive setback.

Two, the production of Jordan Poole and Thompson. Scoring has been an issue, and the performance of these two can tilt it one way or the other.

Three, Kuminga. His scoring should be OK, as should his defense. His rebounding will need to get more consistent.

RELATED: Ask Kerith: When will Wiseman return from injury?

Meanwhile, the Steph-Draymond-Klay reunion is delayed once more.

“We’re all looking forward to that,” Kerr said. “But this season, nothing surprises me.”

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