Bogut starts for Warriors vs. Spurs: KD returns

ByNick Friedell ESPN logo
Tuesday, March 19, 2019

SAN ANTONIO -- Golden State Warriors superstar Kevin Durantplayed Monday night against the San Antonio Spurs after missing the last week because of a right ankle injury.

"I'm excited to play again," Durant said after Monday's shootaround. "I'm looking forward to another opportunity to get better."

Durant arrived at AT&T Center about an hour before shootaround so he could test out his ankle. He came with members of the Warriors' medical staff and teammate Quinn Cook and is ready to get back on the floor.

"It is good to get everything figured out," Durant said. "I had some nagging injuries here and there. To get it figured out feels pretty good, but it sucked not being able to play."

The Warriors, however, will be without star center DeMarcus Cousins, who will be out because of a sore foot.

The team announced later Monday that an MRI on Cousins' foot came back clean, and he is considered day-to-day.

Durant's return coincides with Andrew Bogut's season debut. The veteran center, who was signed last week after completing the season in Australia's National Basketball League, was not with the Warriors at shootaround as he took a physical, but got the starting nod against the Spurs.

"I'm gonna play him," Warriors head coach Steve Kerr said. "I'm gonna play him tonight. Without DeMarcuswe've got to guard LaMarcus Aldridge...Bogut will be out there at some point."

Kerr noted later that when he told Bogut that he would be inserted in the starting lineup, the veteran center couldn't hold in his emotions.

"He burst out laughing," Kerr said with a chuckle before the game. "He did. I told him and he burst out laughing, but he's excited."

Bogut took the whirlwind aspect of his return in stride.

"Part of the NBA circus, I guess," Bogut said. "Obviously there's some injuries. My plan was I flew in on Friday, found a house on Saturday, was going to buy all the kids toys and safety equipment and baby gates on Monday and then I got a text from Steve on Saturday night. Call me ASAP kind of thing and I'm like 'Uh oh' so they organized a flight for me on Sunday and here I am. So, a little tired, but it is what it is."

Kerr said that Warriors swingman Andre Iguodala is also day-to-day moving forward after being scheduled for a tooth extraction on Monday afternoon. Kerr hinted that some other players may get Tuesday's game against the Timberwolves off depending on what Cousins and Iguodala's status was. Bogut doesn't sound too concerned about being able to pick up the Warriors system again.

"I just got to try to figure it out on the fly," Bogut said. "I haven't had a shootaround. I had the treadmill cardiac test in the morning so I didn't even get to go to shootaround to walk through all the new plays and the new sets. So a lot of the stuff is the same, there hasn't been a whole lot of changes but there is some new things and hopefully the guys, especially Draymond doesn't get too mad at me if I'm in the wrong spot, but we'll get it figured out. Defensively, it's pretty similar to when I was here. A little more switching, but yeah, I'll be ready for it."

Initially, Kerr didn't want to make Bogut fly to the middle of the country for a couple of games after he had just flown over from Sydney, but Bogut's presence is needed because of Cousins' absence. Players and coaches are happy to have Bogut back in the fold.

"That was probably one of the weirdest moments for sure," Warriors guard Stephen Curry said of seeing Bogut on Sunday night. "Just walking in the restaurant and seeing him at one of the tables. But we kind of just started about the stuff we normally talk about, playing poker, where we live in the Bay, kids, all that type of stuff. A lot's happened in three years but he's the same guy. Same down-to-earth -- again very familiar with the setting here so it should be pretty comfortable."