Steve Kerr was forced to miss Game 3 of Warriors-Blazers due to illness on Saturday night, leaving Mike Brown to take over the head coaching role in Golden State’s comeback win to go up 3-0 over Portland. While the Warriors are now firmly in control of that series, there is a great deal of concern about the chronic back pain taken their coach off the sidelines and could force him to miss extended time.
Marcus Thompson of The Mercury News first reported on Sunday morning that Kerr is expected to miss the remainder of the Warriors first round series against the Blazers — which could come to an end on Monday — and that there is no timetable for his exact return because the team and physicians aren’t quite sure what is wrong. As Thompson wrote, Kerr, who missed much of last season recovering from complications after back surgery, hasn’t felt well throughout the series but it recently became “unbearable”:
At the worst of this current illness, Kerr was in excruciating pain, according to the sources, and he could barely walk. It was scary because it wasn’t a feeling he’s had before.
It’s a frightening thing to be stricken with severe symptoms from an unknown illness, and hopefully, Kerr’s ailment can be discovered and treated with relative speed. Not just so he can return to the bench, but so he can simply return to normal day-to-day activities. Thompson noted that Kerr was feeling well enough on Saturday to go over some game-planning notes with Brown prior to the game, adding that Kerr is a ferocious competitor who will do everything he can to return to the bench.
As Steph Curry pointed out after the game, the Warriors “have his back,” and while everyone hopes to see him back on the bench as Golden State’s redemption run continues, the primary concern is that he gets healthy again.
Update: Kerr spoke with the media on Sunday afternoon and announced that he would not be on the sidelines for Game 4 due to the chronic back pain he’s dealing with, and would hope to find some remedy as he continues to speak with his doctors. However, he won’t come back until he’s positive that he’ll be able to coach out the remainder of the playoffs.
This means that, until further notice, Brown will serve as the Warriors head coach. Kerr not wanting to be on and off of the bench makes sense to ensure that, at the least, the team has a consistent voice in Brown rather than their head coach varying game-by-game based off of how Kerr’s back is feeling that day.