David Lee waited eight years to play in his first playoff game. And for now that’s all he’ll play.
The Warriors announced on Sunday their all-star forward is done for the rest of the playoffs after it was revealed he suffered a torn right hip flexor late in Game 1 on Saturday.
Lee came out of the game early in the fourth quarter after taking an awkward fall under the basket. After shooting two free throws, he could barely make it back to the Warriors bench on the other end of the court.
X-rays on Lee after the game were negative, but an MRI taken Sunday morning showed what damage had been done.
The Warriors haven’t put a timetable on Lee’s return, and after the Andrew Bogut debacle earlier this year, I don’t expect them to be anything other than vague about recovery time. Early reports, though, say three months is the soonest he could be back. If true, even if the Warriors advanced to the NBA Finals (side note: LOL), Lee could possibly be back well before training camp. For now, Lee doesn’t believe he needs surgery.
No question, losing Lee creates a big void at the four spot for the Warriors. (Not to mention, Stephen Curry also loses his BFF.) His absence will most be felt at the offensive end and on the glass. On defense, ehhh, not so much. But obviously this is a costly blow with the Warriors already at a disadvantage in depth against the Nuggets.
But if there’s one opponent against whom this injury might not hurt the Warriors as badly, it’s the Nuggets, who play a lot of small ball as it is. Here’s Tim Kawakami:
But as the rhythm of the game is established, I think SF Harrison Barnes can slide to the 4 when Denver plays Wilson Chandler or Andre Iguodala at PF, which is a lot, and I think that a quicker Warriors line-up might not be a terrible option vs. the Nuggets. [...]
Denver doesn’t play post basketball, so you can go smaller against the Nuggets. That’s the theory, anyway.
Besides, Lee was a nonfactor shooting the ball in Game 1, and the Warriors clawed their way back into the game after Lee went out with his injury.
UPDATE: …And Larry King of all people has weighed in:
The loss of David Lee @dlee042 w/ an injury will ruin the warriors for the rest of the NBA playoffs
— Larry King(@kingsthings) April 21, 2013