Warriors' Draymond Green to play against Jazz after missing 5 games

SAN FRANCISCO -- Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green will play against the Utah Jazz on Monday night after missing the past five games because of a torn ligament in his left finger.

"It's improved," Green said of his finger after Monday's shootaround. "It's not all the way 100 percent. I'll be waiting 'til March for a finger to become 100 percent. So you just kind of get it to where you can tolerate it and move forward. ... You kind of mess up your fingers all year, every year. I think it's back at that point of a normal sprain. Sometimes it's going to get hit, and you just keep it moving. But I can tolerate it now, I can dribble now, I can catch, so it's solid."

Warriors coach Steve Kerr is happy to have Green back as a leader for his younger players.

"We already felt it this morning, just his voice," Kerr said prior to Monday's game. "That was the biggest thing on the road trip, just not having Draymond there, not having Steph, Klay, it was just strange looking out at the guys. I kept saying, 'Where is everybody?' Meaning, I thought we were waiting on two or three guys to start every meeting on the road trip. It's like, 'Where is everybody?' I was saying it unironically. I was being dead serious. 'Oh yeah, we only have nine guys.' But it was just quiet. It was very quiet without Draymond as you could imagine. But our team, our young guys need his voice. They need the advice that he can offer. So at shootaround this morning we're walking through a few things defensively. He's there to provide the advice that the young guys need, and that's very reassuring as a coach. He's basically a coach on the floor, and we missed him while he was out."

Green initially suffered the injury during a Nov. 1 loss to the San Antonio Spurs. He believes he will play his regular minutes against the Jazz after missing more than a week. Green wore tape around the finger for support during shootaround but is confident he will be able to contribute for his team.

"I didn't get another MRI," Green said. "But it feels better, and I'm going to play."

Green, who did not travel with the Warriors on their most recent road trip to Houston, Minnesota and Oklahoma City, said he has been trying to stay in regular contact with his teammates over the past week. Green admitted he is still adjusting to playing alongside his new, younger teammates as veterans Stephen Curry (broken hand) and Klay Thompson (left ACL rehab) continue healing from their own injuries.

"It's different," Green said. "Some reads that's kind of second nature to me, because I've been doing it for so many years, it's not quite the same. So really just adjusting to that and understanding that if somebody drives down in the middle of the paint and kick it out, they're probably not flying off the next pin. So kind of just figuring those things out and understanding that those same reads, they're not there. So it's an adjustment, but it's cool."
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