The Golden State Warriors announced Thursday that coach Steve Kerr will take an indefinite leave of absence to continue his recovery from offseason back surgery.
“At this point, the most important thing is to make sure Steve is healthy, completely recovered and ready for not only the rigors of a long NBA season, but day-to-day life in general,” said Warriors General Manager Bob Myers. “We don’t anticipate the recovery process will be long term, but as of today we don’t know the exact timeframe. We’ll evaluate his progress daily and provide updates as necessary.”
“After the first two days of training camp, I realized I need to take a step back and focus on my rehabilitation in order to be ready for the grind of another NBA season,” said Kerr. “As I noted last week, my summer was difficult and no fun due to the multiple back surgeries. At this point, I simply want to get healthy and back to my normal daily routine on and off the court.”
Luke Walton was announced as the interim coach. Walton took on more and more responsibility last season, particularly for the offense under Alvin Gentry (now coach of the Pelicans) while Ron Adams managed the defense.
Kerr suffered a ruptured disc at some point last year which required the surgery. The stress of coaching through an NBA Finals is a lot on the body. Kerr had said he had not had much fun this summer while being laid up. The Warriors won 67 games with a historic point margin last season under Kerr before going on to win the NBA championship while only losing five games. He finished second in Coach of the Year voting behind Atlanta's Mike Budenholzer.
Kerr being out isn't good, he was the guy that brought everything together for the Warriors. But the assistant staff has good cohesion and a great dynamic that fosters an open exchange of ideas. Hopefully Kerr can return at some point relatively soon this season, but with the kind of chemistry and talent the Warriors have, they should be able to weather the storm in his absence.