Jonathan Kuminga nearing return for Warriors – TechVerdant

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SAN FRANCISCO — Jonathan Kuminga remained out for the Warriors’ Tuesday night game against the Mavericks, but the Warriors have set a plan in motion for him play on Thursday night in Houston.

Warriors head coach Steve Kerr revealed the team’s course of action for Kuminga, who has missed four straight games with tendinitis in both knees.

“He hadn’t done anything because of the knee for the last week,” Kerr said. “He’s feeling a lot better. Just got a really good 3-on-3 scrimmage in, the first work he’s done since he’s been out. So, we felt strongly that he needed to get a couple days’ work in before he’s ready to play.”

The Rockets matchup could have substantial stakes for the Warriors at the bottom of the Western Conference. The Rockets won 11 straight to inch within striking distance of Golden State’s play-in spot, so the Warriors being at full-strength for the game in Houston is a big development.

Kuminga, 21, has had a breakout season for the Warriors. He’s averaging 16.3 points per game while shooting 52.9% from the field. He’s at his best when he’s attacking the rim, and he broke the Warriors franchise record for dunks in a season (since tracking began in 1997-98).

Earlier this season, when Kuminga wasn’t getting the playing time he felt he earned, the young wing publicly expressed frustration with Kerr.

“Sometimes, I come out the game not knowing what I did,” Kuminga said in January. “And that messes with my head. It’s like, ‘What they want me to do?’ I can pass and I can do different s—.”

Kerr and Kuminga hashed things out privately, leading to a more consistent, featured role for Kuminga. Since January 27, Kuminga has started every game he suited up for. In that 29-game span, he has tallied 19.1 points in 30.4 minutes per game as Golden State’s most reliable secondary scorer behind Steph Curry.

Kuminga last played in Miami on March 26, when he was a plus-21 in a blowout win over the undermanned Heat. He was seen in the locker room with ice packs taped around both knees — not an uncommon sight for NBA players in the thick of a grueling schedule.

Initially ruled out with right knee tendinitis, the Warriors’ injury report later listed Kuminga’s ailment as “bilateral,” meaning both knees. He was listed as questionable before Golden State’s most recent matchup in San Antonio and went through a lengthy warmup, but the team’s medical staff deemed him unable to go. Now the team wants him to get more work in before returning to live action.

The Warriors won the past three games with Kuminga sidelined before the Dallas game. In his absence, Andrew Wiggins has taken on a heavier offensive load, attempting over four more shots per game than his season average. Wiggins scored 20, 23 and four points in the three contests without Kuminga.

Since Kuminga has already played 70 games, he’s eligible for the NBA’s Most Improved Player of the Year award — of which he’s a 200-to-1 darkhorse, per Fanduel.

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