Late in the third quarter of the Golden State Warriors’ March 31 game against the Sacramento Kings, second-year guard Patrick McCaw made a backdoor cut along the baseline for a lay-up.
Undercut by the Kings’ Vince Carter, McCaw came crashing down on the floor, where he stayed for 10 minutes before being carried off the court on a stretcher and taken to UC Davis Medical Center, where he was diagnosed with a lubmosacral bone bruise.
On Thursday, McCaw — who early on was haunted by the question of whether or not he would walk again — was re-evaluated by the team’s medical staff, and has been cleared to begin modified basketball drills, with an aim of returning to competition.
In the immediate aftermath of the injury, the 22-year old McCaw could not feel his legs. Then, the pain kept him from sleeping. He leaned heavily on Steve Kerr for emotional support, since the Warriors head coach himself has struggled with debilitating back pain.
During the re-evaluation, the Warriors’ medical staff determined that the 6-foot-7 UNLV product is making enough steady, functional progress, according to a team release, and as a result, has been cleared to begin modified on-court shooting and running drills.
In addition to his on-court work, the release said, McCaw will also continue to build his overall strength and conditioning under the guidance of the team’s training staff.
While McCaw will almost certainly not play at all over the remainder of the postseason (he will be re-evaluated by a specialist in four weeks), there is a chance that he could return next year.
While healthy, the former second-round pick of the Milwaukee Bucks averaged 4.0 points, 1.4 assists and 1.4 rebounds per game in 57 games this season for Golden State, in 16.9 minutes per game.
With the return of Steph Curry on Tuesday, McCaw is the only player left on the Warriors injury report. Golden State leads its Western Conference Semifinal series against the New Orleans Pelicans 2-0, and will play Game 3 on the road on Friday at 5 p.m.