Warriors forward Draymond Green said he has “cost my team enough” after serving a suspension, but has now got his mind right and is eager to return and help his struggling squad.
Green was suspended indefinitely by the NBA after he was ejected from a December 12 game for striking Phoenix center Jusuf Nurkic in the face, and ended up missing 12 games before being reinstated on Saturday, January 6.
“I didn’t touch a basketball for [the] first 10 days, and then I started working again,” Green told reporters after practice on Tuesday, January 9.
“It felt good to get back in the gym after I sat with some of my thoughts. It was refreshing to go get a workout. But it didn’t feel like a routine. It didn’t feel like I was jumping back into the revolving door and started back spinning,” he added.
The four-time NBA champion added that he did not realize just how stressful his job was until it was taken away, but he is now hungry to help a Golden State club desperate for a spark.
“It’s urgent from a professional standpoint because I wasn’t hurt,” he said.
“At least my body wasn’t hurt. My mind was hurt, my feelings [were] hurt, but it wasn’t like some injury kept me off the floor,” he said.
“So it’s very urgent because I’ve cost my team enough. I’ve cost this organization enough,” he added.
The Warriors have struggled without the player often called their “heartbeat,” whose precision passing and rugged defense played a key role in building the team’s dynasty in the San Francisco Bay Area.
With Green sidelined, the team has labored to find the right rotations and after a humiliating 133-118 loss to the Toronto Raptors on their home floor on Sunday, January 7, the team is now 17-19 and in 12th place in the 15-team Western Conference.
For his part, Green, one of the league’s most assertive players, was humble upon his return from suspension.
“Coach said welcome back on film yesterday and [Brandin Podziemski] started clapping, and everybody started clapping,” he said with a smile.
“Well I’m not sure [if] I deserve a round of applause, but I’ll take it,” he added. (Reuters)