Warriors coach Steve Kerr not yet ready to return to bench
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.
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.