Warriors center Zaza Pachulia out at least a week
JANIE McCAULEY | Associated Press
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Golden State Warriors center Zaza Pachulia has a strained rotator cuff in his right shoulder and will be sidelined for at least a week.
He underwent an MRI exam Tuesday and expressed his relief a day later that the injury wasn’t more serious. He is scheduled to be re-evaluated after a week. Pachulia made a diving play to secure a steal in the fourth quarter of Sunday night’s 113-111 victory at Portland, and his outstretched right arm landed awkwardly and his shoulder made contact with the ball.
Two-time reigning NBA MVP Stephen Curry returned from an illness Wednesday night against his hometown Hornets at Oracle Arena and looked strong in pregame warmups with father, Dell, watching. He then hit his first four 3-point tries by the 6:41 mark of the first quarter. Meanwhile, Golden State announced about 75 minutes before tipoff that reserve guard Shaun Livingston was out with a strain in his mid-back. JaVale McGee started for Pachulia.
Curry missed the game at Portland after waking up with the stomach flu – something he believes he picked up from his two young daughters who are both now in preschool.
“I heard when you start your kids in school that first year or two, you’re pretty much susceptible to any and everything,” Curry said. “So far it’s been OK, we just had a little rough go last week. Everything’s good.”
Pachulia said he knew he had hurt his shoulder on the play but finished the game. Once he cooled down, he noticed the pain.
“It’s not bad for him to miss a few games here and get some rest,” coach Steve Kerr said. “He’s definitely going to miss the next several games and we’ll go from there. I don’t think it’s anything that’s going to linger too long.”
He has made big strides since mid-December, so this is a minor setback – though Pachulia is determined to make it a positive and use the time while receiving treatment to stay in shape and work to get stronger.
“Right now there’s progress,” he said. “It definitely feels better every day. … At the end of the day, we need healthy bodies. That’s the beauty of this team, we have so many weapons and options. I wish everybody was available but injuries are a part of the game. I’m just glad it’s not more serious than what it is.”
Curry was surprised he didn’t lose much weight and feels his “energy is good, ready to go.”
“Probably a smart decision to not try to one, get anybody else sick, two, push my body past the limits it was already at and try to play that night,” Curry said after Wednesday morning’s shootaround. “It was a really boring night at the hotel watching the game. Couldn’t even watch our own broadcast, which sucked. No offense to the Portland people.”
Already down big man David West, Golden State’s frontcourt is short-handed.
“Nooothing easy,” Curry groaned, rubbing his eyes several times when told of Pachulia’s status . “Next man up. Obviously those two guys are important parts of what we do. … Just like when I was out, we found a way to get it done. We need to do that and have obviously a physical presence and continue to rebound at a high level while he’s out.”
West was scheduled to have a follow-up X-ray later Wednesday on a non-displaced fracture of his left thumb suffered Jan. 18 against Oklahoma City. He won’t play Thursday against the Clippers, Kerr said.
James Michael McAdoo had eight points, seven rebounds and two blocks in 20 minutes of last Wednesday’s 10-point win at Charlotte and could be an option, along with McGee, Damian Jones and Anderson Varejao.
Kerr was named Western Conference Coach of the Month for January after Golden State went an NBA-best 12-2 for the month.