It remains unclear when – or apparently if – Steve Kerr will return to the Golden State Warriors’ bench this season as he continues to recover from complications suffered during two separate back surgeries last summer. The Warriors went on a historic streak in his absence, and interim coach Luke Walton’s stewardship of the team has been nothing short of remarkable. It’s a testament to the system and culture Kerr put in place last season that Golden State has continued to thrive.
And now it’s looking like they’ll have to do so indefinitely as Kerr has no immediate timetable for a return. One of the primary reasons Kerr isn’t rushing things is precisely because of the Warriors’ early-season success and Walton’s obvious proficiency at running things from the sideline. From an interview this week, you also get the sense that Kerr is at least somewhat concerned that his return could disrupt this team’s rhythm and chemistry.
“If we were really struggling I would feel guilty about not being out there,” Kerr said.
“But the fact that we’re doing so well makes it a lot easier for all of us, for Joe (Lacob) and for Bob (Myers) and for me and Jerry (West) and everybody.
I asked him bluntly, was there ever a thought that you might skip this season?
“No, I don’t think that way at all,” Kerr said. “I think I’ll be back. I don’t know exactly when, but I think I will be back coaching again this season …
There’s still an important qualifier in that statement that is impossible to escape. Kerr is careful not to say that he’ll definitely be back at some point this season, which means there’s at least some possibility that he still might miss the entire year. After all, no one anticipated that he’d miss as much time as he already has.
And regardless of how the Warriors have fared thus far without Kerr, an extended postseason run minus their head coach at the helm would be a completely different story than the feel-good narrative that has been the first quarter of this young season. Kerr claims he isn’t feeling any pressure to return at the moment, but how different might he feel come playoff time even if he still doesn’t possess a totally clean bill of health?
But any further speculation would be an exercise in futility, so, suffice it to say, Kerr’s return date remains open-ended at this point.