SAN FRANCISCO — Golden State Warriors forward Andrew Wiggins has rejoined the team after missing nearly two months while dealing with a family matter. There is still no timetable for when he will return to the court, but Wiggins was in the building for Golden State’s matchup with the Oklahoma City Thunder on Tuesday.
He was with his teammates on the sideline during the game, and received a gracious ovation from the Chase Center Crowd when he was shown on the jumbotron.
Wiggins did not share further details about his absence, but Shams Charania of The Athletic reported that Wiggins’ father, former NBA player Mitchell Wiggins, was dealing with a serious medical situation.
Wiggins said that he kept in shape while he was away from the team, doing mostly on-court drills, and Warriors head coach Steve Kerr said that his All-Star forward worked out with assistant coach Jamah Mahlalela and director of sports medicine and performance Rick Celebrini on Tuesday.
Kerr said that “there’s no way he’s playing in the next few days,” but Wiggins did not anticipate a long ramp-up in terms of his conditioning.
“Not terrible,” Wiggins said of his current conditioning level. “I’ve been working out, but obviously the NBA is a different type of conditioning that you need. I don’t think it’ll be too long before I’m up there.”
While Wiggins did not provide details about the family issue, he said the time felt right for him to return to the Warriors, who have two regular season games left after Tuesday — Friday at Sacramento and Sunday at Portland.
“When you’re in a certain situation and your family needs you, and requires your attention and your love, that’s my first priority. Family is always first for me, and it will always be that way,” Wiggins said. “I felt like I was in a safe space to come back. I felt like we got everything settled — not fully settled, but in a safe place where I can come back.”
Kerr has yet to think about how to incorporate Wiggins back into the lineup, but said that conversations will have to take place in correspondence with Wiggins’ availability as the postseason approaches.
“We will have to do some adjusting, but, you know, it’s not rocket science,” Kerr said. “[We’ll] look at the combinations that we’ve been putting out there, which ones have been working well, which ones haven’t. Look at the ones with Andrew in them, and then try to figure out, within the context of how much he might be able to play, where we can fit him in and how best to fit him in.”
Entering Tuesday night’s game against the Thunder, the Warriors held the No. 6 seed in the Western Conference, but were in a four-way tie with seeds five through eight in the loss column. When Wiggins returns, whether in the team’s final regular-season game on Sunday or in the playoffs, he will immediately be thrust into a tense, must-win scenario.
As an elite two-way wing and the team’s best perimeter defender, Wiggins was an integral part of the Warriors’ championship last season. His return to some semblance of that standard is essential if Golden State is to make any kind of a run in the playoffs.
For now, however, the organization is just glad that Wiggins’ family situation has resolved itself enough for him to feel comfortable returning to the team.
“I feel good. My mind feels good,” Wiggins said. “I feel good just being back here in the Bay, being around my teammates, coaches and people in the organization. It’s always a joy being here. So, I feel good.”