The Golden State Warriors will soon have Andrew Wiggins back in the lineup. Wiggins, who hasn't played since Dec. 3, has been cleared to practice, the team announced Wednesday. He'll be re-evaluated later this week. Wiggins was initially sidelined because of a strained right adductor. He has missed the last four games because of a non-COVID illness.
"He's gotten really good workouts the last couple of days and another one just now," Warriors coach Steve Kerr said after their 122-119 loss against the Detroit Pistons on Wednesday. "So, trending in a good direction."
Golden State's next game is Saturday against the Orlando Magic at Chase Center. The team will then host the Phoenix Suns on Tuesday.
"I'm not sure about Saturday, but things are going well because he's been in the gym every day and he's finally getting the reps that he needs to get his legs and conditioning back," Kerr said.
The Warriors lost seven of nine games immediately following Wiggins' injury, and Stephen Curry injured his shoulder in the middle of that stretch. They went on a five-game winning streak after that, though, which just ended against Detroit.
Wiggins is Golden State's top wing defender, and, before this absence, he was having the most efficient season of his career, averaging 19.1 points on 62.1 percent true shooting. In 22 games, he has made a career-high 45 percent of his career-high 7.4 3-point attempts per 36 minutes. The Warriors have a 20-19 record and are 3-16 on the road, but the defending champs have remained dominant on both ends when their regular starters -- Curry, Klay Thompson, Wiggins, Draymond Green and Kevon Looney -- have been on the court, outscoring opponents by 23 points per 100 possessions in 278 minutes.
That group could be back together shortly. Curry could return as soon as Jan. 13, when Golden State will visit the San Antonio Spurs for a one-off game at the Alamodome.
Ideally, everybody else will be able to build on the rhythm that the Warriors found on their recent winning streak, too. Donte DiVincenzo has averaged 10.8 points, 6.2 rebounds, 4.3 assists and 1.6 steals in his last nine games, all starts.
"I think Donte might be the guy who benefits the most because, early in the season, he was playing 15 minutes a night," Kerr said. "Tough to get into a really good groove that way. Now he's playing 35, 38, 44 I think the other night. We're relying on him so heavily that he's really getting into a good groove. You can see his confidence blossoming."
Kerr also mentioned that 20-year-old forward Jonathan Kuminga has "really established a role defensively" and "done a great job" while the team has been shorthanded. Between Kuminga's improvement, DiVincenzo getting comfortable and the contributions of Ty Jerome and Anthony Lamb, perhaps the Warriors can find a reliable second unit when they're whole again.
Kuminga is out with a sprained right foot, though, and will miss another week, the team announced on Wednesday. Backup big man JaMychal Green will also be re-evaluated in a week; he has missed Golden State's last eight games because of the NBA's COVID-19 health and safety protocols and an infection in his right leg.