SAN FRANCISCO — Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green participated in his first team practice since early January on Saturday afternoon.
“It’s great just to have his energy back in the gym, his voice,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. “He looked great, physically. So that’s a very positive step for him and we’ll go from here.”
Green, who has been rehabbing a lower back injury since Jan. 9, did shooting drills, 5-on-0 conditioning and “a lot” of other drill work Saturday.
“My progress has been tremendous,” Green said. “I think, where I am today, if you knew where I was eight weeks ago or seven weeks ago, it’s night and day.”
For the first half of Green’s hiatus, he was unable to do any basketball activities. He spent most of that time — once his back was in a place that allowed for physical activity — in the weight room.
“I’m stronger than I’ve ever been in my life,” Green said. “… I spent six weeks just sitting in the weight room, working in there for four, five hours a day.”
Green was cleared for basketball activity in late January, but it had all been individual work until Saturday.
He said Saturday that the timetable for his return remains fluid. He estimated on Feb. 3 that he would return in three to four weeks but said at the All-Star Game on Sunday that it would be another three to four weeks from that point.
“I’m trying to stick to as fast as I can possibly get back,” Green said. “From where I am, you feel like it’s three weeks or so, but it could be five weeks or so. … It’s no set thing.
“In a week and a half, it could be like my conditioning is at a level, my strength is at a level, my explosiveness is at a level where you can go back out there.”
Those three things — conditioning, strength and explosiveness — are what Green and the training staff are monitoring to let them know when he is ready to play in a game or even a scrimmage. But there is no clear barometer on how to tell when exactly those aspects will be ready.
Green’s goal is to play in at least a handful of the remaining 22 regular-season games.
“Like I said, as soon as I feel like I’m whole and can get back out there and get my feet back under me before the playoffs, great,” Green said. “If that’s 15 games, fantastic. If it’s 10, I’ll make do. If it’s five, then five is going to have to work.”
The Warriors’ other injured big man, James Wiseman, has also been ramping up his practices after tearing a meniscus last April.
He has now been a full participant in two practices — Wednesday and Saturday — since the All-Star break, including a 12-minute scrimmage Wednesday. He also worked Friday with the G League Santa Cruz Warriors in San Francisco.
It’s unclear if Wiseman will travel with the Warriors on their upcoming four-game road trip, or if he will remain in the Bay Area to get more individual work.