(Reuters) – Andrew Bogut will start at center for the two-time defending champion Golden State Warriors after DeMarcus Cousins tore his quad in the team’s loss to the Los Angeles Clippers on Monday, head coach Steve Kerr said on Wednesday.
FILE PHOTO: Mar 21, 2019; Oakland, CA, USA; Golden State Warriors center Andrew Bogut (12) jogs down court against the Indiana Pacers in the fourth quarter at Oracle Arena. Mandatory Credit: Cary Edmondson/File Photo
The towering Australian, who won a championship with Golden State in 2015, rejoined the team as a backup to Cousins in March after a standout season with the Sydney Kings in Australia’s National Basketball League (NBL).
“I think Bogut will do a great job. He’s been great since he’s been back,” Kerr told reporters during practice ahead of Thursday’s Game Three, which comes after the teams split the first two games of the best-of-seven series.
“This is why we got him — just in case. We were hoping we wouldn’t have any injuries obviously but that was our most vulnerable position,” he said.
“We’re lucky to have Andrew.”
Last month Bogut, 34, said he was happy to just be along for the ride and would be fine just waving a towel and cheering his team mates from the bench.
He will, however, see a lot more action than that now that Cousins is sidelined.
Kerr could have started 23-year-old big man Kevon Looney or forward Draymond Green at center but said he was confident in Bogut’s abilities.
Cousins will not need surgery, according to media reports, to repair the left quad muscle, which he tore while running down a lose ball in the first half of the Warriors 135-131 loss to the Clippers in Oakland.
Cousins, who in January made his Warriors debut after a torn Achilles tendon kept him off the court for almost a year, is unlikely to return during the playoffs, where Golden State is chasing a fourth NBA championship in five seasons.
Reporting by Rory Carroll; Editing by Toby Davis