OAKLAND – And so now we know his calendar is injured, too.
Eleven days after the Warriors said David Lee was done for the season because of a torn muscle in his right hip, even if they made it to the Finals in June, the All-Star power forward said after his shocking return in the series-clinching win against the Nuggets that he may play again when Golden State faces the Spurs in the Western Conference semifinal that begins Monday in San Antonio.
Lee is still contemplating surgery to repair the tear suffered in the fourth quarter of Game 1 in Denver and he said his 87-second stint late in the first period with one rebound and one missed jumper Thursday night at Oracle Arena was a struggle – “No stability. When I went to backpedal, I couldn’t even really feel my right leg. It’s not so much pain, but I definitely have limitations. I knew that and coach knew that and our doctors knew that going into (the) game. But it’s sometimes hard to tell me no when I get something in my head, so I tried to go out there and do something.” But he also would not rule himself out for the season, as if anyone would believe the claim anyway.
If the second round started Saturday, with a two-day turnaround that could have happened, Lee said he would not be able to play. Given the opening in the schedule before the Spurs series begins Monday, though, he may play for the second time since it was announced he would not play at all.
“I’m going to do my best,” he said late Thursday night, after the Warriors had eliminated the Nuggets 4-2. “We’ll just have to see what this break brings. If I’m feeling the same way I am tonight, it’s going to be difficult to expect much. But it’s already come so far in a few days, I think it can be even better by the time we play San Antonio.
“We’re going to hopefully have this make some improvement. The reason why I kind of thought of tonight was because it’s a home game. You saw the crowd’s reaction. It wasn’t necessarily what I was going to do on the court to help the team. It was more to boost the morale and to get the crowd somehow even more into the game than they already were. It accomplished that tonight. I’ll just have to take it day by day and we’ll see. But it would be limited minutes if it were possible.”
Lee said doctors told him he could not to additional damage to the existing injury, but that there is a possibility that overcompensating for the torn muscle could create new problems. That made playing Thursday a risky move and any more games a greater risk, although he said he tried not to think about the negatives.
But, he said, there is no danger of being healthy at the start of next season in exchange of a couple cameo appearances with no real tangible impact late in this one.
“I’m crazy, I’m not stupid,” Lee insisted Thursday. “I remember sitting at halftime tonight just thinking, ‘What was I thinking, thinking I could go play a playoff-intensity game with one leg?’ But it was worth it. And I wouldn’t have done it if would have jeopardized anything for next season.”