Draymond Green will sit out Saturday's game. (Stan Olszewski/Special to S.F. Examiner)

Steve Kerr acknowledges playing without Draymond Green is a ‘great challenge’

OAKLAND — All it took was an exchange of text messages to convince Steve Kerr to rest Draymond Green for the Golden State Warriors’ Saturday night meeting with the Minnesota Timberwolves.

“He didn’t fight me on it,” Kerr said, when asked if Green tried to talk his way into the lineup after injuring his left ankle on Friday night.

“That was an indication that, ‘Okay, this is serious enough to give him a night off,’” Kerr said.

The All-Star forward hurt his ankle on a scary play in the team’s 109-85 win over the Los Angeles Lakers at the Staples Center. Reserve guard Ian Clark (throat) was also injured on the same sequence.

Green underwent an MRI earlier in the day and the results came back clear, according to the head coach. Kerr said he’s hopeful both players will be available for Monday night’s game against the Atlanta Hawks. With Green sidelined, Kerr opted to give Kevon Looney his first NBA start.

“I’m actually really excited for tonight’s game,” Kerr said. “I think it’s a great challenge for us. It’s a little different, but it’s a good chance for Loon to get some important minutes and for our team to perform without a couple of key guys.”

Tasked with guarding Timberwolves star Karl-Anthony Towns, Looney also gets a rare opportunity to play as a power forward.

“He can play four,” Kerr said. “The main reason we don’t play him there much is because Draymond and [Kevin Durant] are, obviously, who they are. For us to get to get the most minutes out of those two guys, I’ve got to play KD at the four and also to get Andre [Iguodala] on the floor at the three.”

Looney’s last start at the four came on Oct. 15 when the Warriors beat the Lakers 112-107 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.

“What I like about him is he doesn’t try to do too much,” Kerr said. “He’s smart and he knows where to be. He seems to be in the right place at the right time – constantly.Draymond GreenGolden State Warriorsian clarkKevon LooneyNBASteve Kerr

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