Warriors head coach Steve Kerr has exited the NBA’s COVID-19 health and safety protocols and will be available to coach the club in the Western Conference Finals, per Anthony Slater of The Athletic (Twitter link).
Kerr had entered the NBA’s coronavirus protocols ahead of Game 4 in the Western Conference Semifinals series vs. the Grizzlies. Warriors associate head coach Mike Brown, who will depart Golden State’s bench after the season to become the Kings’ head coach, stepped in for Kerr for the final three games of the series. Brown guided the Warriors to an eventual 4-2 second-round series victory.
The Warriors will be playing in their sixth Western Conference Finals since Kerr’s hiring in 2014. Golden State will face the winner of tonight’s Game 7 second-round matchup between the top-seeded Suns and the fourth-seeded Mavericks. Game 1 of the Western Finals is scheduled for Wednesday.
Kerr offered an update on the health of Otto Porter Jr., as well, noting that the Warriors forward did not partake in on-court workouts with the team, per Kendra Andrews of ESPN (Twitter link). Porter, who missed the team’s series-clinching Game 6 of the Conference Semifinals due to right knee soreness, was exercising on a stationary bike today, per Slater (via Twitter).
“I talked to him and he said he was feeling better,” Kerr said. “We’re hopeful he will be able to play Game 1.”
According to Andrews (Twitter link), Kerr also offered up an injury update on another Warriors role player, suggesting that guard Gary Payton II may become available to suit up for Golden State at some point during the next round of the playoffs.
“It would be a long shot for him to play, but I think it’s a possibility,” Kerr said.
Payton suffered a left elbow fracture at the hands of Dillon Brooks on May 3, and was initially expected to miss at least three-to-five weeks of game action. A Western Conference Finals return would be on the early side of that timeline.