SAN FRANCISCO — Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green said Thursday he expects to be out for another three to four weeks with a lower-back disc injury that has sidelined him for 14 games.
Green, who earned his fourth All-Star selection Thursday as a reserve for the Western Conference, also said he would sit out the festivities to rehab his back.
But he made it clear the timetable for his return isn’t set in stone.
“I can’t really put a definite timeline on it because at this point I’m just rehabbing and building strength and just letting my body heal,” Green said. “Ideally, I would love to be back in the next three to four weeks. But I can’t guarantee that.
“When dealing with the back, the one thing I am not going to do is rush back. And if I’m not back in three weeks, that also doesn’t mean that I’m not able to play. I want to return when I am 100 percent confident that I am healthy, that I am in great shape, because the reality is, I don’t want to return not in somewhat of game shape.”
Green said the injury initially appeared Jan. 8 when he was sitting at home, but was unaware that it was his back that was injured. He said he initially just felt soreness in his calf.
Green informed Warriors director of sports medicine Rick Celebrini about his calf. Celebrini put Green through a number of tests, which Green says he couldn’t do. Green tried to go through warmups the next day — ahead of Klay Thompson’s return against Cleveland Cavaliers on Jan. 9 — and immediately knew he wasn’t going to be able to play.
But Green said he was still unaware that his back was the problem. That was revealed to him later that week when he underwent an MRI.
“When I replay everything from the beginning of that day, the look on Rick’s face when I couldn’t perform some of the tests let me know he knew right away what it was,” Green said.
Green said he had some concern because he was dealing with his back, but said all the news he received from his doctors put him at ease.
The biggest relief for Green was that doctors said he would not need surgery, nor would he need any type of injection.
“When you’re dealing with the back, [surgery] is always a possibility, so we had to cross that bridge to see if that was needed,” Green said. “No one thought that was needed, and my progression has shown that to be true thus far. And I believe it will continue to stay that way.”
Green said there isn’t concern that the injury would flare up again down the line and that he hasn’t felt any pain in his back since the tightness in his calf first appeared. His calf is feeling back to normal, as well.
Last week, Green was able to return to the court for the first time since Jan. 9 and got shots up. He doesn’t have a clear schedule for what is next in his rehab process, but his priority will be getting his strength back, while also making sure his game is back at the level it was at before the injury.
“I want to feel good about my game, I want to feel good about my conditioning and I want to feel good about my body. And that takes time to get all three of those things on the same page,” Green said. “I am locked into the process of getting there. But I need those three things to align just because of the nature of the injury.”
Without Green and James Wiseman, who has been out since last April, the Warriors have just one active center: Kevon Looney. On Thursday, Warriors general manager Bob Myers admitted there is some concern that Looney is their only true option at the five right now.
Myers has been told that both Green and Wiseman, who is recovering from a meniscus tear, will be cleared to rejoin team activities this season, and because of that, he and the Warriors are not actively looking to add a center in the upcoming trade deadline.
“As it sits here tonight, we’re being told both of those guys, Draymond and James, will be back to help us with some games to go … and we think those two can help us more than anything else we’re looking at on the market.”