Kerr keeping an open mind on Draymond's return to Warriors

Kerr keeping an open mind on Draymond's return to Warriors originally appeared on NBC Sports Bay Area

Steve Kerr is trying to keep an open mind in reintegrating Draymond Green back into the Warriors' lineup now that his indefinite suspension is over.

Kerr was asked in his first interview since Green returned to Warriors practice how he was approaching the star's return now that he has been reinstated by the NBA.

“I’m open-minded," Kerr told reporters. "He just came back to practice so this next week will be a time where he’s integrating himself back into the group. It’s so different from an injury: he was away, literally away from the group for three weeks, that’s a long period of time during the season to be gone. So, there needs to be this period where he’s practicing and communicating with the guys and once he’s ready to play we’ll figure out what we’re going to do.”

After striking Phoenix Suns center Jusuf Nurkić in the face during a game on Dec. 12, Green was indefinitely suspended by the league for his continued conduct on the court. This was not his first suspension-worthy incident of the year, as Green was suspended for is chokehold on Minnesota Timberwolves center Rudy Gobert earlier in the season.

Green has developed a reputation, one that he is trying to improve after going through therapy during his suspension, and his outbursts have made it more difficult for the Warriors, who have struggled in games where Green does not play.

Despite the controversy surrounding him, Kerr was quick to point out the leadership role that Green serves for the Warriors.

“He’s been here for 12 years, he’s been here longer than I have, so he’s still obviously a huge part of this thing, a huge part of our leadership and he’s going to reassume that mantle, but he needs the awareness that comes with what he’s just gone through and what he’s just put the team through as well,” Kerr said.

As Green continues to ramp up his workload in practice as he eyes a return to the court, he will have to better manage his in-game emotions to avoid crossing the line with referees in order to prevent any other issues.

The Warriors currently are fighting for an NBA playoff berth but have had issues closing out games of late, squandering fourth-quarter leads to the Detroit Pistons and the Denver Nuggets. The hope is that Green can provide some much-needed relief on the defensive front as the Warriors navigate the middle of the season, having to do so without Chris Paul, who fractured his second metacarpal in his left hand and will be out for at least three weeks if not more.

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