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Draymond Green ready to return for Warriors after latest suspension: ‘I’ve cost my team enough’

In Sports
January 10, 2024

Draymond Green is back at practice with the Golden State Warriors, and he’s more than ready to get back on the court after his latest suspension.

Green, who was suspended last month for a second time this season, said he isn’t trying to take his time. After all, he said, the reason he has been gone is on him.

“It’s urgent from a professional standpoint because I wasn’t hurt,” Green said Tuesday. “At least, my body wasn’t hurt. My mind was hurting, my feelings was hurt, but it wasn’t like some injury caused me off the court. It’s very urgent because I’ve cost my team enough. I’ve cost this organization enough.

“It’s not a time for me to just come back and be like, ‘Alright, I’m going to take my time and get back when I can.’ No, like, you caused this yourself. You don’t get the grace.”

Green was suspended indefinitely after he swung at Suns center Jusuf Nurkić’s head in a game last month. He was reinstated Saturday after missing 12 games.

During his suspension, Green “completed steps that demonstrated his commitment to conforming his conduct to standards expected of NBA players,” the league said. He also “engaged in meetings with a counselor,” as well as with the league, the Warriors and the National Basketball Players Association, all of which will continue.

Green admitted during his suspension that he nearly retired altogether, but commissioner Adam Silver talked him out of it. He also said former teammate Kevin Durant’s comments about him initially “really pissed me off,” but Durant has since cleared those up.

The suspension was Green’s second of the season. He was suspended for five games after he put Rudy Gobert in a chokehold in the opening seconds of a game in November.

While the indefinite suspension might seem severe to some, Green was happy that was what the NBA opted for. He didn’t even touch a basketball for the first 10 days.

“I needed a break, just from everything,” he said.

That time off, he said, allowed him to “come to some realizations that I needed and wanted to come to.”

“When it is indefinite, you don’t know what that means, either … Having the time allows you to process those thoughts,” Green said. “I’m also appreciative to the league for the indefinite suspension. You know why? Because there was no goal to return. There was no, ‘Alright, I’m going to work and get through these five games so as soon as the five games is up, I’m back.’ Part of the indefinite and returning is being in a better space.”

Draymond Green was reinstated after his indefinite suspension last month, which marks his second of the season.

Draymond Green was reinstated after his indefinite suspension last month, his second of the season. (AP/Rick Scuteri)

Draymond Green could return as soon as this weekend

Green has averaged 9.7 points, 5.8 assists and 5.5 rebounds in 15 games for the Warriors this season, his 12th in the league. The Warriors went 7-6 without Green, including Monday’s 133-118 loss to the Toronto Raptors, and hold a 17-19 record. He won’t play in Wednesday’s game against the New Orleans Pelicans, but he could be back on the court for Friday’s game against the Chicago Bulls or Saturday’s game against the Milwaukee Bucks.

Whenever it is, Green said he will be ready to go.

“They’re putting the plan together to ramp up. If it were up to me, I would love to come back and play right now,” Green said. “Reality is, it’s probably not the best thing for me or the best thing from an organizational standpoint and what that looks like moving forward and risk of injury and all those things. But there’s a human component to this as well. You sit home and you watch these games, as a competitor you want to help.”

While he realizes he has to be different on the court when he does get back out there, Green isn’t going to be a totally different player.

“My goal is not to come back and worry about crossing the line because I still have to come back and play the game the way I know how to play the game and be the best me that I can be for my team to help give my team a chance to win,” Green said. “As far as not crossing the line with a referee, yes, that’s a big point of emphasis for me … But I didn’t make it to this point worried about touching the line. I didn’t help this team and this organization become what we’ve become by worrying about crossing the line.”

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