5:33pm: Looney will be sidelined for the next two weeks before being reassessed, per a tweet from the club’s PR department.
8:08am: The Warriors lost another center during Tuesday’s loss to Boston, as Kevon Looney exited after spraining his left ankle during the first half. As Nick Friedell of ESPN writes, Looney underwent an MRI after the game that confirmed the sprain, and head coach Steve Kerr said he expects the starting center to miss multiple games.
“I don’t expect him to play the next couple of games,” Kerr said. “It was a significant enough sprain where it looks like he’ll be out for a little bit.”
Typically, having to get by without Looney for a few games wouldn’t be a major problem for the Warriors, but the injury comes at a time when the team is already significantly shorthanded at the five. Marquese Chriss will miss most or all of the season with a broken leg, Alen Smailagic is recovering from knee surgery, and rookie James Wiseman is expected to be sidelined for at least a week due to a sprained wrist.
According to Friedell, Kerr said after the game that Eric Paschall and Juan Toscano-Anderson will take on bigger roles up front, with Draymond Green spending more time at center as well. That will be a small frontcourt — Golden State has no healthy players taller than 6’7″, so rebounding could be an issue in the short term, as it was on Tuesday when the Celtics out-rebounded the Warriors 51-36.
Signing a free agent to help plug the hole at center is one option the Warriors may consider, but as Anthony Slater of The Athletic notes, any new addition would have to return negative coronavirus tests for six consecutive days before being cleared. By that time, Looney and/or Wiseman could be getting close to a return.
Golden State also doesn’t currently have an open roster spot, so signing someone new would require waiving someone — possibly Mychal Mulder, who has a non-guaranteed contract.