OAKLAND — Steve Kerr is back with the Warriors, if only behind the scenes.
After being away for games and practices during the Western Conference semifinals against Utah, Kerr rejoined his coaching staff for meetings Friday and also attended practice Saturday.
Though Kerr visited briefly with the team on May 3, it was the first time since April 21 that he was a vocal presence at practice, though he won't be on the sideline when the Warriors face the Spurs Sunday afternoon in Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals.
"More than anything else, it was great to see him out here, especially during practice, walking around and talking to guys," acting head coach Mike Brown said. "You really enjoy that because he's our leader. He's the guy that laid the foundation and that has everybody heading in the right direction. So the more he can be around, it's a better feel that all of us have. It was good to see him out here today."
Though Kerr did not address the media, his presence on consecutive mornings indicates he may be experiencing some relief after undergoing a procedure last week at Duke University Spine Center in North Carolina.
Kerr announced on April 23, prior to Game 4 of the first-round series against Portland, that he was taking an indefinite leave of absence to address chronic pain that lingers after multiple back surgeries in the summer of 2015. He first consulted with specialists at Stanford Medical Center before flying to North Carolina.
Kerr arrived at the team facility at 8:30 on Friday morning for a meeting with the coaching staff. He arrived around 9:30 Saturday to assist in preparation for practice and also to address the team ahead of Game 1.
"He's obviously been doing his homework in between his down times to help us get prepared for the series," Stephen Curry said. "And you know he misses being around the day-to-day routine and the atmosphere and practice and locker rooms and the games. For him to just have the energy and ability to be here means a lot."
If Kerr is feeling good enough to be at the team facility on back-to-back mornings, don't be surprised if he somehow makes it to Oracle Arena on Sunday for Game 1 against his friend and mentor, San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich.