‘It’s pain­ful’

War­riors coach Steve Kerr not yet ready to re­turn to bench

Cape Breton Post - - Sports -

Steve Kerr is in­volved in just about every­thing but the ac­tual game-day coach­ing for the Golden State War­riors - film ses­sion, coaches meet­ings, game-plan­ning and prac­tice.

He’s just not yet ready from a health stand­point to be back on the bench with the start of the NBA Fi­nals a week away.

Gen­eral man­ager Bob My­ers made the an­nounce­ment Thurs­day, though he didn’t rule out Kerr re­turn­ing at some point if he some­how is healthy enough to do so — though that doesn’t ap­pear promis­ing at this stage.

“If he feels bet­ter and we have to make those de­ci­sions, we will, but right now we’re not putting any dead­lines on should he feel bet­ter what will we do,” My­ers said. “It’ll be based on what day it is, how ex­actly he feels, how long he’s felt well. I should be say­ing this with more emo­tion be­cause it’s hard for me. I’m kind of in this bas­ket­ball mode but he’s a per­son and he’s not feel­ing well and that’s what makes it hard - more than how it af­fects our team is how he’s feel­ing that makes it very dif­fi­cult to have to sit here and say that the man that’s hugely re­spon­si­ble for us be­ing in the Fi­nals for three years in a row, in a mo­ment that he should be trea­sur­ing, can’t do it.

“It’s pain­ful, and I know it’s pain­ful for him more than any­body.”

Kerr was there as his team re­turned to prac­tice fol­low­ing a two-day break af­ter com­plet­ing a four-game sweep of the Spurs on Mon­day night to im­prove to 12-0 this post-season. My­ers noted that “just hav­ing him in the build­ing and around is very pow­er­ful.”

The 51-year-old Kerr un­der­went a pro­ce­dure May 5 to re­pair a spinal fluid leak stem­ming from com­pli­ca­tions af­ter two back surg­eries in 2015, af­ter the War­riors won their first cham­pi­onship in 40 years dur­ing his first season as coach.

While peo­ple have asked Kerr whether he should step away, My­ers knows that’s not the im­me­di­ate an­swer.

“This is his sanc­tu­ary. Even though he’s suf­fer­ing, be­ing at home or be­ing re­moved is ac­tu­ally harder if we can un­der­stand that, be­cause this is his joy,” the GM said. “Even though it’s a muted joy right now, this is the best thing that he feels. This is his ful­fil­ment.”

Kerr re­turned to prac­tice May 13 af­ter more than three weeks off the court, and he hasn’t coached the War­riors on the bench since Game 2 of the first round against Port­land. He then trav­elled for the Western Con­fer­ence fi­nals to San An­to­nio and has been watch­ing games from be­hind the scenes, speak­ing to the team be­fore­hand and dur­ing half­time. Act­ing coach Mike Brown has been lead­ing Golden State dur­ing Kerr’s ab­sence.

It’s un­clear how well the lat­est pro­ce­dure worked for Kerr, who missed the ini­tial 43 games last season deal­ing with de­bil­i­tat­ing symp­toms such as headaches and nau­sea that have re­turned through­out this season.

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In this Novem­ber 2016 file photo, Golden State War­riors head coach Steve Kerr di­rects his team dur­ing an NBA game against the At­lanta Hawks in Oak­land, Calif.

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