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Steve Kerr to miss Game 4, leaves open possibility he misses rest of season (VIDEO)

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Steve Kerr met with reporters on Sunday after being forced out for Saturday’s Game 3 in Portland. (Jacob C. Palmer/S.F. Examiner)
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PORTLAND, Ore. — Complications from back surgery have been dogging Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr for a year and a half. He’s coped with regular migraines and nausea after spinal fluid leaked during a procedure in the 2015 offseason.

About five days ago, the pain he’s been living with became more acute and harder to manage. It forced him out of Game 3 of the Dubs’ first-round matchup against the Portland Trail Blazers and it will keep him out of Game 4 today, Kerr said Sunday.

The feeling is different than what kept him out of the Warriors’ first 43 games of the 2015-16 season.

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“It’s discomfort and pain: It’s no fun,” he said. “I can tell you if you’re listening out there, and you have a back problem, stay away from surgery. I say that from the bottom of my heart. Rehab, rehab, rehab. Don’t let anyone get in there.”

And Kerr will keep himself away from the sideline as long as it takes for him to fully recover. He’s hoping to have a better idea about his status within the next week or two. But he said it was a possibility he could miss the rest of the postseason.

“This is not going to be a case where I’m coaching one night, not coaching the next,” Kerr said. “I’m not going to do that to our team, our staff.”

That leaves the head coach’s seat to lead assistant Mike Brown, who Kerr endorsed as having his full confidence in that role.

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The Warriors knew this was a possibility when they hired Brown before this season to replace Luke Walton, who previously replaced Kerr when he missed the beginning of the Warriors’ 73-win run. That’s why they targeted a guy with experience coaching deep into the playoffs.

Since he was ruled out on Saturday, the team has been consistent with its message: Kerr and his staff have established a culture that’s bigger than the head coach.

“I was on my couch in my room, telling my son we should put so-and-so in right now. And that guy was going to the table,” Kerr said. “Mike and I are thinking along the same lines, the whole staff is.”

And, since it is this Warriors group we’re talking about, of course there was an inside joke that somehow emerged. After beating the Blazers, Stephen Curry told ESPN that he was giving the game ball to Kerr, who Curry claimed gave a “win it for the Gipper” speech. In reality, that was the opposite of Kerr’s message to the team.

“I just talked to the team, I said, ‘Look, it’s the same game, it’s the same thing, you guys know what to do. This is not about whether I’m out there or not, let’s go about our game plan,” Kerr explained. “Steph decided to have a little fun with that and basically flipped the story around.”

Golden State will look to sweep its first round opponent today. If the Warriors are successful, it would likely buy the team more time for Kerr — and Kevin Durant, Matt Barnes and Shaun Livingston — to recover and possibly rejoin the group as it is going to take some time for the Los Angeles Clippers or Utah Jazz to advance. (All of those players remain questionable to return to action.)

BONUS MIKE BROWN JOKE

(A new, favorite recurring segment.)

When asked if his day-to-day has changed since taking over as acting head coach, Mike Brown dropped his third joke in as many group interviews.

“I really wanted to go to Starbucks right now,” he said. “… You guys kind of screwed up my routine of getting a coffee, or, actually, a caramel mocha. That’s about it.”

Contact Jacob C. Palmer at jpalmer@sfexaminer.com or on Twitter, @jacobc_palmer.

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