SAN FRANCISCO – Golden State forward Andre Iguodala has been ruled out of Game 5 of the Warriors’ first-round matchup against the Denver Nuggets with a left cervical/disk injury. He will be re-evaluated in one week, meaning he will miss the remainder of the Warriors’ series against the Nuggets and possibly the start of the second round.
“It’s a huge loss for us,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. “He’s a guy who has been through everything and has seem it all in his career and has played in a million playoff games for us. He knows exactly what’s going on and we can use him in a variety of ways … so it’s a big loss.”
Iguodala missed Game 2 against Denver with neck spasms, and while this injury is also located in his neck, it is not the same thing. However, the team believes both neck injuries are linked to the back injury that held him out seven weeks. Before that, he missed eight games due to a hip injury. He played just 31 of the 82 regular-season games.
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One of the reasons the Warriors were so cautious with Iguodala during the regular season was to ensure he’d be available in the playoffs, providing the younger, less experienced players in the rotation a stabilizing veteran presence.
Iguodala’s absence could lead the Warriors to rely more heavily on rookie Jonathan Kuminga, who played rotational minutes for the first time this series in Game 4, scoring nine points in just over 11 minutes – all in the second quarter. Before Iguodala was ruled out, Kerr wouldn’t speculate on how much he planned on playing Kuminga in Game 5, but said that Kuminga has a role with the team in their first-round series, and moving forward.
Ahead of Game 5, Kerr doubled down, but also said they would explore the possibility of shrinking their rotation.
“It just depends on how the game is going,” Kerr said. “We just have to get a feel for everything.
“One of the things we talked about when the playoffs started was that we didn’t have our whole group during the regular season so we didn’t have tested lineups. We were going to have to mix and match and I think that’s going to be the case now. We have to feel each game and figure out what we need and go with our gut.”
Source: ESPN NBA