OAKLAND, Calif. — In one corner of the Golden State Warriors’ quiet locker room Sunday night, Jermaine O’Neal sat at his locker with ice bags on his knees and just stared into the distance. David Lee, who spent the evening in a suit on the bench, already had cleared out and gone home. Andrew Bogut never surfaced.
The Warriors are a “no-excuse basketball team,” as coach Mark Jackson loves to say. But they are suddenly looking like a worn-down and banged-up bunch at the most pivotal point of the season.
“You can’t ignore the fact that we’re short-handed,” Jackson said. “We don’t have the luxury of saying, ‘OK, you’re going to play tonight.’ We got guys who can’t play. We got guys that can’t run. Our job is to take care of business until those guys get healthy.”
That challenge has been difficult to overcome in recent games.
Bogut missed Sunday night’s troubling 89-84 home loss to the New York Knicks with a bruise in his groin and pelvic area, which he injured in Friday’s comeback win over Memphis when Marc Gasol kneed him while attempting a layup. Bogut also is expected to miss Tuesday’s game at Dallas and Wednesday’s game at San Antonio — and possibly more.
Lee has sat out two straight games with a strained right hamstring, and the injury has kept him from even running lately — much less getting on the court. Andre Iguodala has acknowledged that the tendinitis in his right knee is something he’s going to have to deal with for the remainder of the season. And O’Neal is coping with pain in his surgically repaired right wrist and soreness in his aging knees.
With injuries piling up and other teams showing no signs of slowing down, the playoff spot that once seemed secure is no longer a sure thing.