Major Golden State Warriors' injury concern proves lineup shift may be unsustainable

Golden State Warriors v Memphis Grizzlies
Golden State Warriors v Memphis Grizzlies / Justin Ford/GettyImages

While much of the Golden State Warriors' injury issues focus on two-time MVP Stephen Curry, the franchise now has another concern that could prove much more problematic from a long-term standpoint.

Veteran forward Draymond Green, arguably the team's second-most valuable player behind Curry, missed Wednesday's loss against the Dallas Mavericks with back soreness.

Draymond Green's injury concerns prove his move to the full-time starting center role may be unsustainable for the Golden State Warriors

The 34-year-old's absence was his first missed game since returning from a 16-game suspension in Memphis on January 15. Since then Green has become the Warriors' starting center, joining Andrew Wiggins and Jonathan Kuminga in a new-look frontcourt.

Speaking on his podcast on Thursday, Green outlined the injury concerns that could prove a long-term issue that he and the franchise need to manage moving forward.

"My back has been bothering me for like four or five games now. I’ve kind of been going through it and just playing through it. We have the absolute best training staff in the league and they’re doing things to get me back to a good space... My body keeps giving warning shots. Listen to them before you have to and you can’t do anything."

Draymond Green
Draymond Green
Chicago Bulls v Golden State Warriors / Kavin Mistry/GettyImages

This was always going to be the concern with pushing Green into playing as the permanent starting center. While he's one of the best defensive players in NBA history, the four-time All-Star is regularly giving up 5-6 inches and 40-50 pounds to opposing big men on a nightly basis.

It's hard to gauge how much, if any impact playing center is having on Green's back concerns, but it's fair to assume it probably isn't helping. In fairness, head coach Steve Kerr and the Warriors have already been managing Green even before his absence on Wednesday.

The former Defensive Player of the Year has averaged just 26.5 minutes this season, easily the lowest since his second year in the league where he was still predominantly a reserve. More recently, Kerr has leaned more into rookie center Trayce Jackson-Davis who has averaged over 21 minutes across the last seven games.

Green is hoping to return to the lineup in a crucial matchup against the Los Angeles Lakers on Saturday. The Warriors could also regain Curry who has missed three games after sustaining an ankle injury against the Chicago Bulls last week.