All-Star forward David Lee of the Warriors is out for the season after injuring his hip during Golden State’s 97-95 loss to Denver Nuggets in Game One of their opening playoff series.
”Unlucky, especially for a guy that’s worked so hard and put himself in position and put us in the position that we’re in today…. But the task is still handy so we move forward,” Coach Mark Jackson said.
MRI results showed a torn right hip flexor.
”I knew last night when I did it,” Lee related before the Warriors’ practice Sunday. ”I felt it pop. So I knew we were going to get the results we did this morning. I went run back on defense and had absolutely no sensation in my leg. It was not even painful as much as it was just (numb).”
Lee said doctors told him he likely will not require surgery, just a month or two of rest and rehabilitation. He claimed he hopes to be 100 percent by mid-summer and come back stronger in camp.
The injury leaves the Warriors without a key producer down low. Lee led the NBA in double-doubles with 56 this season. He averaged 18.5 points, 11.2 rebounds and 3.5 assists.
”We can’t replace him, and we all know that,” Jackson said. ”And that’s the thing we have to know right away. He’s an All-Star power forward who’s had an awesome year. But we have some guys on our bench that will do some things to cover up his absence. But we can’t replace David Lee.” Basketball lines
Carl Landry stands to get the bulk of Lee’s minutes with Draymond Green, Andris Biedrins and Festus Ezeli also in the rotation. Jackson might also go with a guard-heavy lineup occasionally.
Lee banged into JaVale McGee on a drive in the 4th quarter Saturday and winced as he landed on his right hip. After gathering himself, he shot both free throws, then struggled to run down court and needed help as he made his way to the bench.
”No dirty play or anything like that,” Lee said. ”I went up and when I landed, my foot caught, my weight kept all going forward and put all of the stress on that hip area. And I’ve been dealing with a sore back … for the week and a half, 2 weeks. And whether overcompensating for that had anything to do with it, I don’t know.”
Lee finished with 10 points and 14 rebounds in his first playoff game in 8 NBA seasons.
”I’ve waited for 8 years for this and to have it come to such a sudden end with something that’s out of my control is frustrating,” Lee expounded. ”But at the close of the day, our team has still got a fair chance I think in this series and I’m going to put all my effort towards that.”
Game 2 is in Denver, and Lee will be there for his squad.
”It’s easy to kind of sit here and worry about yourself, but I’ve been a leader throughout the year and I’m going to continue to be one and guys need to see me be positive at this time and I’m going to do my utmost to be that guy,” he said.