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Steve Kerr says Damian Jones still ‘unlikely’ to return this season

Steve Kerr, Damian Jones

In the wake of DeMarcus Cousins’ likely season-ending injury, it seems the Golden State Warriors will have to make do at center with players currently on the active roster. According to ESPN’s Nick Friedell, Warriors coach Steve Kerr says injured big man Damian Jones is “unlikely” to play in the postseason despite the fact that he’s recently been performing well in practice.

Jones, the 30th overall pick of the 2016 draft, spent most of his career in the G-League before emerging as Golden State’s starting center to open the 2018-19 season. Unfortunately, his progress was stalled when he suffered a torn left pectoral muscle in his team’s 111-102 loss to the Detroit Pistons on December 1st. Jones, starting 22 of the 24 games, averaged 5.4 points, 3.1 rebounds, and 1.2 assists in 17.1 minutes per game before going down, shooting an astounding 71.6 percent from the field due to his status as an imminent alley-oop and dump-off threat near the rim.

Though Jones would surely be behind at least two other players in the Warriors’ center pecking order if ultimately cleared to play, his availability would still be a nice luxury for Kerr in the wake of Cousins’ absence. The four-time All-Star suffered a torn left quadriceps in the opening moments of the Golden State’s stunning loss to the Los Angeles Clippers on Monday while tracking down a loose ball.

Expect Kevon Looney, currently playing the best basketball of his career, to start for the Warriors in the middle going forward, while recent signee Andrew Bogut – who started at center during the team’s first title run in 2015 – and do-everything forward Draymond Green will also spend time at the five.