OAKLAND, Calif. (CBS SF/AP) — Golden State forward Andre Iguodala will be out for Game 1 of the NBA Finals on Thursday night as he recovers from a bone bruise in his left knee that cost him the final four games of the Western Conference finals.
Iguodala’s absence is a huge blow to the Warriors’ defense as it works to stop LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers.READ MORE: Alameda County Omicron Variant Outbreak Victims Attended Wisconsin Wedding Last Weekend
“I’m just trying to get back as soon as possible,” Iguodala told reporters Wednesday. “Just keep grinding away at the process.”
The Warriors said Iguodala, who was injured in Game 3 against the Rockets on May 20, was evaluated Tuesday and is making progress but still has the bruise and inflammation of the nerve surrounding his knee. Coach Steve Kerr has said Iguodala wouldn’t play until he can run without pain. He will be re-evaluated ahead of Sunday’s Game 2.
“I’m making some progress, but it’s slower than expected,” he said. “Just being realistic — it is what it is…Based on how long it has been…I’m not that far away.”
Iguodala told reporters not to read too much into a report that he is seeking a second medical opinion.
“We’ve gotten a lot of opinions,” he said. “Just to be sure — but I think that’s just standard procedure. That could be blown out of portion by someone reporting it…We’re all on the same page at this point.”
Iguodala said he doesn’t have any doubts he will be able to return during the Finals.READ MORE: Porsche Theft Suspect Arrested On Docked Cruise Ship; Three Illegal Bay Area Chop Shops Busted
“Just trying to figure out how to move in general,” Iguodala said. “But making some progress. Slower than we expected but if you’re just being realistic it is what it is and it’ll be the time, if not longer.”
Kevon Looney has been starting in Iguodala’s place.
Everybody on the Warriors realizes it will be a joint effort guarding James.
“What he brings to us on the defensive end will definitely be missed,” Green said. “But it just means other guys have got to step up. Other guys have done that thus far. The task gets even harder but I know guys will and it will be a collective effort in hopes that we keep trekking along until he’s ready to come back.”
Lebron James certainly understands what the Warriors are missing without Iguodala’s presence and athleticism.
“First of all he has very, very quick hands,” James said. “That doesn’t get talked about a lot, his ability to read and react to the ball either in flight or while you’re dribbling or when you pick the ball up.”
Forward Kevin Love’s status for Cleveland remained unclear as he continues to go through the NBA’s concussion protocol. Love was injured in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference finals against Boston that the Cavs pulled out in seven. He wasn’t scheduled to attend media day Wednesday at Oracle Arena, where the Warriors host the series opener in the fourth straight Finals meeting between the rivals.MORE NEWS: One-In-Four Sonoma County Children Ages 5-To-11 Partially Vaccinated Against COVID
Both teams were practicing Wednesday on Golden State’s home floor, where the defending champions have won 17 of their last 18 postseason games.