The Warriors Are Achy, But Very Fortunate Compared to Other Teams

lawrencecrash
Monte Poole

From Stephen Curry to Kevin Durant to Andre Iguodala to Draymond Green, Warriors are lining up, practically in formation, on the latest injury list. All but Iguodala already have missed games, and he's likely to miss the next one.

Oh, how lucky these Warriors have been. How big is Steve Kerr's rabbit's foot?

Yes, Durant already has missed three games, while Curry and Green have each missed one. Yes, Iguodala, last seen limping toward the podium Saturday night with both knees wrapped in ice, is doubtful to face the Kings on Monday night at Oracle Arena.

As bad as it seems, Kerr's joyless game of roster roulette could be so much worse -- as most of the league's elite teams know.

The Celtics lost one of their newly acquired All-Stars, Gordon Hayward, on opening night and would be ecstatic if he's able to return during the playoffs.

The Cavaliers have gone three weeks without Derrick Rose, whose injury woes reportedly have him pondering his future, and still aren't sure when they'll get All-Star guard Isaiah Thomas, who missed training camp and the first six weeks of the season. They're hoping and praying IT can be back by Christmas.

The Rockets went a month (14 games) without All-Star point guard Chris Paul.

The Nuggets will be without the major offseason acquisition, All-Star forward Paul Millsap, until February.

The Grizzlies have missed their leader, point guard Mike Conley, for two weeks and are bracing to be without him for a third.

The Clippers have gone three weeks without forward Danilo Gallinari and were told last week that Patrick Beverley likely is done for the season.

The Wizards were without All-Star point guard John Wall for two games last week and don't anticipate he'll be back until mid-December.

The Jazz have gone eight games with Defensive Player of the Year candidate Rudy Gobert and expect him to miss another eight or so games. Veteran forward Joe Johnson, the legendary clutch scorer, has missed four weeks and will miss at least two more.

Did we miss anyone?

Oh, yes, the Spurs. They expect Tony Parker, out since May, to make his 2017-18 debut Monday night but still have no earthly idea when Kawhi Leonard will suit up.

All nine of these teams have reasonable playoff aspirations and three -- Cleveland, Boston and Houston -- firmly believe they can at least reach The Finals. Maybe they can. All three of their coaches will need to perform some serious substitution magic to keep those dreams alive.

The Warriors, however, were cast in the role of superheroes and, therefore, fully expected to reach The Finals and win it, maybe even in a sweep. While some observers wondered if they might approach the single-season wins record they set in 2016, when they went 73-9, getting to 70 seemed utterly reasonable.

Seventy is much less reasonable now, partly because Kerr is completely uninterested in chasing regular-season wins simply for cosmetic reasons and partly because the training staff is determined to make prudent decisions -- particularly after Kerr conceded the prematurity of Durant's return last week at Oklahoma City.

None of the injuries they have incurred thus far have been considered "serious," requiring anyone to miss several weeks or longer. The closest they've come to experiencing physical adversity in the three-plus seasons since Kerr has arrived is Durant's 19-game absence in the second half of last season.

The Warriors survived that, and quite well.

Curry has missed nine regular-season games since 2014. Green has missed 10. Klay Thompson has missed more than either: 11. And some of those absences were executive decisions by Kerr.

So while it may seem worthy of concern, surely among the more anxious members of the fan base, the Warriors are in relatively fine shape. They've had to shake off a few jabs, but some of their competitors have been knocked down, if not out.

The Warriors are a deep team, to be sure, but if these nicks and bruises keep piling up, they're going to need every breath of that depth to nail down the No. 1 overall seed for a fourth consecutive season.

Chances are they will, as long as Kerr's rabbit's foot keeps bringing him luck.

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