14 Jan

Warriors guard out 4-6 weeks with fractured hand that needs surgery

The Golden State Warriors’ already teetering season took another dark turn on Friday night when Chris Paul suffered a fractured left hand in a narrow win over the Detroit Pistons. Paul will undergo surgery next week and is expected to miss four-to-six weeks, according to Adrian Wojnarowski.

“I feel so bad for Chris,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. “I know he’s had a couple of surgeries before, I believe, maybe I think it was on the other hand, but, yeah, I saw him holding it and instantly I was worried. Just got the the word after walking off the floor. So I feel terrible for Chris and, obviously, guys will step up and be ready to play and we’re going to have to hold down the fort without him.”

Hold down the fort without Paul? The Warriors’ fort was already folding with him. They’re under .500 and clinging to the West’s final Play-In Tournament spot. Draymond Green, who was reinstated on Saturday, will have to earn back the locker room’s trust. Jonathan Kuminga is upset with his role. Klay Thompson is having to pep-talk himself into embracing the downslope of his career.

On Friday, the Warriors needed two Stephen Curry 28-footers inside the final minute and five seconds to squeak out a home win against the lowly Pistons, who are barely a week removed from a 28-game losing streak.

Paul isn’t anything close to what he used to be, a common theme within this storied franchise right now, but he’s a key part of this team. He plays in the neighborhood of 30 minutes a night. He closes games. It sounds weird to say this, but at least Paul’s absence, along with Gary Payton II’s, will at least make Kerr’s life a little easier in terms of clearing some space in a crowded rotation.

“Both Brandin [Podziemski] and Cory [Joseph] will play more at the point,” Kerr said. “[This] probably brings Moses [Moody] also back into the rotation because you’re replacing 30 minutes from Chris. So we won’t replace all those minutes with one guy, we’ll probably spread them out.”

Moody, who has looked like an up-and-coming guy in Kerr’s rotation at various points, has been taking DNPs of late, completely locked out of the rotation. He’ll get another chance to solidify something, though with Green coming back and Payton at some point, that might be short-lived.

It feels like a trade is inevitable to clarify some of this, and truth be told, Paul could still be one of the candidates to be shipped out as an expiring contract. But that’s all for a later time. Right now, Paul is headed for surgery and the Warriors are clinging to life.

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