When Jones was first diagnosed, the Warriors indicated that he would be out indefinitely. There’s still no specific timetable for his return, but the team provided a little more clarity today, announcing that the 23-year-old will be able to begin his rehabilitation process in about six weeks. Golden State will have a better sense at that point of whether Jones will be able to get back on the court before the end of the season.
If Jones is ruled out for 2018/19, the Warriors could apply for a disabled player exception, but it wouldn’t do much for them, given Jones’ modest $1,544,951 salary. If granted, a DPE allows a club to sign a replacement player for 50% of the injured player’s salary, assuming that amount is below the value of the mid-level exception.
Jones, a first-round pick in 2016, earned starting duties at center for the Warriors this season, averaging 5.4 PPG and 3.1 RPG in 24 games (17.1 MPG) before he went down.
While the Warriors have an open spot on their 15-man roster and could make a move to add depth in their frontcourt, they’ve seemed content to let Kevon Looney and Jordan Bell handle the five for now. Draymond Green is expected to return to the lineup next week and can play center in some smaller lineups, as can Jonas Jerebko.
Of course, the Warriors are also preparing for one of the NBA’s very best centers to make his debut for the team within the next several weeks. DeMarcus Cousins, who signed with Golden State in the offseason, is reportedly targeting a post-Christmas return.