CLEVELAND (AP) — Golden State center Andrew Bogut will need six to eight weeks to recover from a left knee injury, ruling him out for the remainder of the NBA Finals and almost certainly affecting his Olympic plans as well.
The Warriors are calling it an “impaction injury” that resulted in serious bone bruises. Bogut will not need surgery, the team said.
Bogut was hurt Sunday night about 90 seconds into the third quarter when he blocked a shot by the Cleveland Cavaliers’ J.R. Smith, then landed awkwardly.
“It’s bad news for our team,” coach Steve Kerr said.
It’s a major blow to Golden State’s defensive scheme. Bogut blocked five shots in Game 2 of the finals, and the Warriors’ defensive numbers are typically much better when he is on the floor.
Without Bogut, it’s likely that Draymond Green — who missed Game 5 of the finals because of a suspension for accruing too many flagrant foul points during the playoffs — could spend a significant amount of time in Game 6 at center. Green has played there regularly during the playoffs.
“It’s not like a loss where you say, ‘Aw, it doesn’t matter.’ It definitely matters,” Green said. “We’re going to miss him. But one thing we always talk about is our depth. So it’s an opportunity for someone else to step up. One guy goes down, another guy has to step up. I’m not sure what the rotations or none of that stuff will be, but whoever touches the floor, it’s an opportunity to step up.
“No one will be Bogut,” Green added. “But give to this team what you can give.”
The six-to-eight-week timetable means Bogut will likely be sidelined through July at a minimum. He was expected to play for Australia in the Rio de Janeiro Olympics, with that team’s first game scheduled for Aug. 6.
Smith’s momentum in Game 5 carried him into Bogut, and the Warriors center’s left knee appeared to buckle as he landed. The Cavaliers outscored Golden State 45-33 after Bogut’s injury, winning the game by 15 and forcing the series to a Game 6.
Bogut started each of the first five games of the finals, though hasn’t logged big minutes. He averaged 3.2 points and 3 rebounds in 12 minutes per game in the series.
“Even with Bogut out, they still have so much firepower that it doesn’t take any of the focus out of our mind going into Game 6,” Cavaliers star LeBron James said.
Golden State leads the series 3-2. Game 6 is Thursday in Cleveland, and if necessary, Game 7 is Sunday on the Warriors’ home floor in Oakland, California.