OAKLAND — Andre Iguodala had a target date in mind to return from a right hamstring injury. The Golden State Warriors have a different one.
“We’re in the same chapter,” Iguodala said after sitting out Thursday’s practice. “Not on the same page.”
Iguodala is expected to miss his 11th straight game when the Warriors host the Houston Rockets on Friday night. He said he hopes to come back “really soon” but will leave the decision up to team trainers.
“We’ve had some disagreements because some days you feel really good, but your body can trick yourself into thinking you feel all right but it’s not really there,” Iguodala said. “I guess the good thing is our strength and conditioning guy, he tore his hamstring this summer. He came back four times and tore it four times again. I guess I could listen to him because he’s been through it.”
Iguodala, who was injured in a loss at the Los Angeles Lakers on Nov. 22 when he made a sharp cut, said he’s shooting the ball well and jumping high. He hasn’t tried to change directions or stop and start again — the true tests of whether he can play.
Iguodala’s impatience has only grown watching the Warriors’ inconsistent play. Golden State (13-10) is 5-5 since he sustained what the team has called a strained hamstring, needing to rally from deficits of 27 and 18 points to win its last two home games over Toronto and Dallas, respectively.
The defense has declined dramatically without Iguodala, who typically guards the other team’s best player. The Warriors allowed 96.07 points per game before Iguodala’s injury and have given up 104.1 points since.
“He would definitely help us,” Warriors center Andrew Bogut said. “He’s a potential All-Star player, very good on-ball defender and a very unselfish player.”
With hopes of making a deep playoff run, Golden State understandably wants to protect its investment. Iguodala signed a four-year, $48 million deal to come to the Warriors from Denver as a free agent this summer and helped the team get off to an 8-3 start.
The drop in production is not all tied to Igudoala’s absence. The Warriors are down three big men — Jermaine O’Neal (right wrist), Festus Ezeli (right knee) and Ognjen Kuzmic (right hand) — and are getting little production from the second unit other than Draymond Green.
“It’s been tough,” Warriors coach Mark Jackson said. “But I’m proud of my guys because it could be a lot worse than it is right now. I think we’ve fought, we’ve scratched, we’ve clawed, we’ve gone through injuries, guys missing games. But our job is to continue to win ball games. This is not where we wanted to be at this point, but it would be a lot worse.”
All of it only makes Iguodala want to return faster.
Iguodala said he can still be effective even if he’s limited. In his 10th NBA season, Iguodala said he knows his body well and has enough experience to not to push himself too hard.
Time on the bench, though, has helped Iguodala learn about his new team in other ways. He said he has paid attention to how opponents defend the Warriors, the way his teammates react to certain situations and how long each goes between getting the ball, among other things.
“It’s been a bad situation for me being out,” Iguodala said, “but you have to take some good out of it.”