OAKLAND — Steve Kerr is back.
The Golden State Warriors coach who has been sidelined since April 22 with symptoms from his botched back surgery two summers ago is returning for Game 2 of the NBA Finals against the Cleveland Cavaliers at Oracle Arena on Sunday night. Kerr, who saw his team go 11-0 without him under acting coach Mike Brown, plans on coaching for the rest of the series that the Warriors lead 1-0.
"That's the plan," Kerr said. "I wouldn't be in this if I was thinking one game. I'm in it for the rest of the way, and that's the intention."
Kerr, who had said all along that he wouldn’t return until his painful symptoms subsided for several days in a row, was his lighthearted self in his pregame news conference.
He joked that Brown had fallen well short of expectations as his fill-in, saying, “I just think the numbers are totally deceiving. I mean you can talk 15-0 or whatever (without me), but the team was falling apart at the seams. I just had to get back to right the ship.”
Kerr, who missed the first half of the 2015-16 season after his spinal cord was nicked during surgery and the fluid created a whole host of agonizing problems, has grown accustomed to seeing his team play well without him.
“What’s our record now without me, like 812-6?” Kerr said before asking Warriors media relations man Raymond Ridder for the actual figure. “(It’s) 51-4. These guys are not easily distracted.”
Kerr, who coached all 82 games during the regular season and the first two games of the first-round playoff series against Portland before stepping aside, is clearly feeling good again.
“I feel like (my health is) back where it is was before the Portland series, and as I told you guys when I stepped aside in Portland, I don’t know what happened,” Kerr said. “I don’t know why things got worse. But since that time, I’ve gotten a lot better.”
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