The Golden State Warriors are expecting forward Andrew Wiggins to return to the team early next week, per ESPN.
For the last 22 games, Wiggins has been absent as he deals with a family matter. However, ESPN says he is expected to be back “as soon as the next 24 hours” in the Bay.
The Warriors have three games remaining in the regular season before the NBA Playoffs begin. A lot can change in the Western Conference over those next three games, but as of Monday, the Warriors own the No. 6 seed which would give them a playoff spot.
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Wiggins’ minutes on the court has not yet been determined as he returns. The Warriors could find themselves in the play-in tournament as early as April 11 depending on how the seeds lock in.
If the Warriors don’t need to participate in the play-in tournament, the first round of the playoffs will begin on April 15.
Wiggins never had a timeline to return to the Warriors, but star point guard Steph Curry has been among teammates that hoped he would get back in the gym with them soon.
WARRIORS' STEVE KERR HOPEFUL ANDREW WIGGINS WILL RETURN THIS SEASON, SAYS HE'S ‘WORKING OUT EVERY DAY’
“We’d love to have him and hope that that does happen because we want to be whole, and I’m sure he wants to be a part of this,” Curry said last week regarding Wiggins’ situation, via ESPN. “But when he walks in the door, it’ll be when it’s the right time for him. That’s kind of the expectation at this point.”
Draymond Green also went on his podcast to defend Wiggins when rumors about why he was absent began swirling around social media.
“I want to let you all know about how absolutely ridiculous most of you people are at life,” Green said. “The fact that a rumor about Andrew Wiggins — I don’t know if it’s true. I’m not here to confirm whether it’s true or not. I really don’t care, like it ain’t got nothing to do with me.
“You hear stuff like that, and you care for like him and her, like and their children. So I care from that perspective. But whether what y’all said is true or not really has no bearing on my life nor does it have any bearing on your life.”
Warriors head coach Steve Kerr also noted that Wiggins has been “working out every day” despite his absence from the team.
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“Beyond that, once he’s back, then our training staff will be able to get with him and see where he is.”
Wiggins last played in a game for the Warriors on Feb. 13 against the Washington Wizards. For the season, he has averaged 17.1 points, 5.0 rebounds and 2.3 assists over 37 games.
The Warriors are looking to retain their world championship won last season where Wiggins played a pivotal role. He was an All-Star last season, after averaging 17.2 points with 4.5 rebounds and 46.6% shooting over 73 games.
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The 27-year-old is in his ninth NBA season after being selected first overall by the Minnesota Timberwolves in the 2014 NBA Draft, where he spent his first six seasons before a trade in the 2019-20 campaign.