SAN FRANCISCO — Most players think of switching teams as a fresh start, an opportunity to pen a narrative that runs counter to previous perception. For Willie Cauley-Stein, the beginning of his latest chapter will be delayed.
Cauley-Stein, who signed a two-year, $4.4 million contract with the Warriors this summer, made his way to the podium with a crutch under each arm. Instead of showing off his new jersey, Cauley-Stein donned a black hoodie, which captured the mood of his introductory presser.
The center, of course, was injured. Cauley-Stein was the last Warrior who took the podium on Monday, but his health status had already been known for several hours. General manager Bob Myers, the first member of the organization to speak at media day, broke the news that the center will miss training camp due to injury.
“It’s disappointing,” Myers said. “You’d like to have new players get acclimated in camp.”
Cauley-Stein suffered a left mid-foot strain during a scrimmage last week. The injury occurred when Cauley-Stein went up for an alley-oop and landed awkwardly. He will miss training camp and be re-evaluated in October.
The Warriors appear intent on handling Cauley-Stein’s injury in the same fashion as other impediments. That is, airing on the side of caution.
“I mean, really just taking the time of not trying to come back early on it. I think that’s the most important part is just having the discipline and not being on it and letting it heal back together, 100 percent, throughout this month,” Cauley-Stein said.
(Jose Carlos Fajardo/Bay Area News Group)
For Cauley-Stein, there’s frustration that stems from this injury. He was expected to be Golden State’s starting center come opening night. Now, Kevon Looney will take his spot on the opening tipoff, for the time being.
The injury also robs Cauley-Stein of an opportunity to build chemistry during training camp, a period that’s especially crucial for a team whose infrastructure underwent a seismic shift.
“I feel like training camp is an important part of the year, just building that camaraderie together and really starting that battle going into the journey of the season,” Cauley-Stein said. “So missing that and kind of being on your own is tough.”
Cauley-Stein’s injury puts Golden State in a new position as well. Over the last couple seasons, Golden State’s rosters have been filled to the brink with centers. NBC Sports Bay Area’s Monte Poole noted the Warriors have had “25 or 30 centers” on the roster for much of Kerr’s tenure, to which Kerr replied, “You’re not exaggerating, either.”
When healthy, Cauley-Stein stands to complement the vision of what Kerr and company have in mind for the upcoming season.
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Source:: The Mercury News – Sports