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Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr confirmed on Wednesday that star forward Andrew Wiggins would not return for the team’s final two regular-season games after missing the past 23 games while attending to a family matter.
“[Wiggins] is not going to play in these final two games of the regular season,” he said on 95.7 The Game’s Willard & Dibs (h/t Taylor Wirth of NBC Sports). “He’ll continue to work and ramp it up pretty quickly.”
That means Wiggins will either return for the play-in tournament or the start of the postseason, depending on what seed the Warriors secure to close the season. Currently, the team holds the No. 5 spot in the Western Conference.
As for Wiggins, he’s been ramping up his workouts since recently returning to the team.
“Full court 5-on-5. He looked good. … He still has to stack a number of days like this before he’s ready to go out and play in an NBA game,” Kerr said. “Health-wise, we can’t put him in a bad spot.”
Wiggins didn’t specify the reason for his hiatus beyond noting that his family needed him.
“When you’re in a certain situation, and your family needs you, and it requires your attention and your love, that’s my first priority,” he told reporters Tuesday. “My career, everything—family is always first for me. It will always be that way.”
Kerr said at Tuesday’s press conference that Wiggins had communicated the reasons for his absence and that the team had his back.
“He let us know from the beginning what was going on,” he said. “So, it wasn’t mysterious. It was a case of Andrew being really open about what was happening and us telling him to go take care of his family. We didn’t really call him and text him all the time. We’d check in occasionally, but we were trying to give him the space.”
Wiggins, 28, followed up his All-Star selection last season by averaging a solid 17.1 points, 5.0 rebounds and 1.2 steals in 37 games this season, shooting 47.3 percent from the field and 39.6 percent from three.
Alongside his recent absence, an adductor injury cost him nearly five weeks between December and January.
His return will be crucial for the Warriors (42-38) as they look to defend their championship, though it remains to be seen if they’ll start that title defense in the play-in tournament or the actual playoffs.
Both the Los Angeles Lakers and Clippers, each 41-38 and facing each other on Wednesday night, are nipping at their heels.