Warriors coach Steve Kerr only coached two games of the Warriors’ playoff run before complications from his 2015 back surgery forced him to leave the team and seek treatment. Mike Brown took over and the Warriors have yet to drop a game in the playoffs, but Kerr has been hurting. He went to Duke Medical Center during the Jazz series to see a specialist and get a spinal fluid procedure, and he’s watched Warriors games from the locker room since then.
Kerr spoke to the San Jose Mercury News’ Tim Kawakami yesterday about his health and the team’s playoff run, and he said he’d been felling much better although he was not yet at 100 percent. Kerr insisted that he’d coach again, hopefully by the start of next season, and he detailed what exactly he’d been struggling with.
It’s a pain thing and the repercussions of pain. I’ve been dealing with it for almost two years. I’ve been able to deal with it for the most part.
It’s not a cognitive thing. It’s not even really an energy thing. It’s a pain thing. And the threshold is really important–what’s the threshold?
For whatever reason, I don’t know why, but a month ago, man, it got worse. You could see it, I’m sure, interviewing me.
When Kerr went to see the specialist, it seemed that he’d miss the rest of the playoffs. However, earlier this week, Kerr said it was “up in the air” whether he’s return during the Finals and Mike Brown told Michael Wilbon earlier this afternoon that he wasn’t sure if Kerr would be on the floor tomorrow night for Game 1. ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne also reports that “there’s a chance” Kerr returns at some point during the Finals. That’s nothing if not vague, but if Kerr’s condition has genuinely improved, it’s an encouraging sign.
The Warriors have enough skilled players and a strong enough institutional memory that they haven’t skipped a beat under Brown, and while the Cavs will be a stiffer challenge than any they’ve faced so far, it’s not as if Brown can’t handle the team. Kerr can only help, and if things go south and he returns, his re-emergence could even help take some of the heat off of his stars.