SAN FRANCISCO, CA – FEBRUARY 19: Golden State Warriors’ Draymond Green speaks to the media after practice at the Biofreeze Performance Center in San Francisco, Calif., on Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2020. (Jane Tyska/Bay Area News Group)
Both Draymond Green and James Wiseman are making small strides after recently testing positive for the coronavirus but neither will play in Saturday’s exhibition opener against the Denver Nuggets — or perhaps in any preseason game — Warriors coach Steve Kerr said.
Kerr said Green, who returned to the Warriors’ practice facility for the first time Thursday, lifted weights, sat in on the team’s film session and might be able to go on the court as soon as Friday in limited fashion. Wiseman again watched the Warriors practice from afar, but was able to do “limited and light” individual work and get some shots up before Thursday’s practice got underway, Kerr said.
Per NBA protocol, Wiseman and Green must self-quarantine for 10 to 12 days after the initial positive test, register two negative tests and be cleared by both a team- and league-designated physician to return.
“So this is just the early stages of him being able to get back out on the court,” Kerr said of Wiseman, “so we’re just following the protocols so he got a few shots up, but that’s about it.”
After Saturday’s game at Chase Center, the Warriors play games in Sacramento against the Kings on Tuesday and Thursday. The regular season opener is Dec. 22 in Brooklyn against Kevin Durant and the Nets, and at best, it appears Green and Wiseman will both be limited in what they can do in that game.
Wiseman has not played a competitive, organized game in 13 months and needs all the practice time he can get with the Warriors before the season opener. He’s been working with team consultant, player development coach Theo Robertson and assistant coach Jarron Collins.
“It just pushes everything back,” Kerr said of Wiseman’s developmental plan. “It’s unfortunate because these are very important practices this week. So the only thing we’ve been able to do is have him sit and watch practice, and then watch film — both with the team and individually — and be tutored off the court.
“As soon as he’s on the court, we’ll do as much as we can with him to get him up to speed.”
In the meantime, their absences, for now, could give opportunities for other players to assume a larger role, such as forwards Alen Smailagić and Kevon Looney at the center position.
“What we’re looking for is improved play over the course of the week,” Kerr said. “This is more just about us, trying to get get better this week and build a little momentum for next week.”
By design, the Warriors’ practice Thursday lasted only about 40 minutes.
“Their bodies have all held up really well,” Kerr said. “We’ll have a longer practice (Friday) and then have that game Saturday. So it’s coming here quickly.”
UNIQUE EXPERIENCE: The Warriors will be playing a game in an empty arena for the first time Saturday. Golden State, of course, was not part of the NBA’s restart this summer inside the bubble in Orlando.
“I don’t really know kind of what we can do other than a practice on the main floor a couple of times before our first game so that we’re used to playing in an empty stadium,” Kerr said. “Normally you can do the opposite, you can pipe crowd noise in if you’re trying to get ready for a loud arena. Really hard to get ready for an empty arena.”