SAN FRANCISCO – Draymond Green walked to the podium Monday at Warriors Media Day without a limp or any assistance, a pleasant sight for a veteran who sustained an unfortunate ankle injury right before the start of training camp.
Green sustained a left lateral ankle sprain when coming down on Jonathan Kuminga’s foot while going up for a layup during a recent pickup game at Chase Center. He will be re-evaluated in two weeks, the Warriors announced.
Green will miss at least the Warriors’ first two preseason games, but he isn’t overly concerned about his injury.
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“I feel good,” Green said. “I feel like I'm improving fast. I’m a pretty fast healer, so I feel like I'm improving fast and it's good. Didn’t quite foresee this coming into the season, but everything happens for a reason.”
The 33-year-old is entering his 12th season and played 73 of the Warriors’ 82 regular-season games last season. A back injury kept him out for two months of the regular season in the Warriors’ 2021-22 championship, but that experience actually has him more confident for his current status.
Rick Celebrini is the Warriors’ MVP behind the scenes, making sure Green, Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, Chris Paul and the rest of Golden State’s aging stars are at their best when returning from injury.
The Warriors’ director of sports medicine will work tirelessly with Green to have him ready for the regular-season opener on Oct. 24 and Green believes he’ll be better for it, finding a silver lining in a frustrating situation.
Golden State Warriors
“I’m excited because we have a great performance team and I’ll be in even better shape by the time – whenever that is – when I start playing,” Green said. “And I am in there now with our performance team, so it’s an opportunity for me to get better and continue to improve some things that I’ve been working on.
“When the time is there, get back out there and be ready to go.”
Every basketball player has turned an ankle to some sort of severity before. Green says he has dealt with more challenging ankle injuries in the past and his most recent could have been much worse. Initially he expected tougher news to come and overall is relieved in his diagnosis.
But there’s no ignoring the truth of the matter. The Warriors can’t repeat such a slow start for the second straight season, and Green of course is a major part of their success.
Though this is Green’s 10th season playing alongside Curry and Thompson, it’s his first calling Chris Paul a teammate following years of a heated rivalry. Green has to get used to sharing the court next to the future Hall of Fame point guard, as well as key free-agency addition Dario Saric.
Green has missed the beginning of training camp before and admits it “sucks” not being part of the immediate action. Nobody wants to play catch-up, physically or mentally, and Green’s main objective is minimizing that upon his return.
“For me, I’ve been around the block a few times,” Green said. “I’ll get up to speed pretty fast and just try to make sure I’m a part of the practices, know everything that’s going on.”