Festus Ezeli Injury: Updates on Warriors Center's Knee and Return

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured Columnist

Golden State Warriors center Festus Ezeli makes his way down the court during the first half of an NBA preseason basketball game against the Los Angeles Clippers, Tuesday, Oct. 20, 2015, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
Jae C. Hong/Associated Press

Golden State Warriors center Festus Ezeli was dealing with a knee injury suffered Jan. 25 against the San Antonio Spurs that required surgery. However, he is ready to return. 

Continue for updates.

Ezeli Active vs. Trail Blazers 

Sunday, April 3

Ezeli will be available to play on Sunday against Portland, as Marc J. Spears of ESPN.com confirmed

Kerr Comments on Ezeli's Recovery

Sunday, March 27

Kerr told reporters Ezeli is "progressing nicely" and has been participating in two-on-two action in practice. 

On March 9, Kerr said Ezeli "should be back in a few weeks" and is "making progress," per Kevin Jones of KNBR.

Ezeli Undergoes Surgery

Monday, Feb. 8

Rusty Simmons of the San Francisco Chronicle reported on Ezeli's procedure, while Spears added he'll be re-evaluated in six weeks. 

Ezeli's Absence Limited Warriors' Situational Lineups

Ezeli spent his first two NBA seasons as a spare big off the bench, used primarily for rebounding and shot blocking. While those continue to be his biggest strengths, his role has certainly been expanded in 2015-16.

The former Vanderbilt standout is averaging career highs in multiple categories, with 7.5 points, 5.9 rebounds and 1.2 blocks per game, and he has especially progressed as an offensive threat.

The 26-year-old Nigeria native has managed to do some damage in the paint offensively, and he is now a player opposing defenders must be cognizant of, as seen in this video courtesy of the Dubs' official Twitter account:

Despite his development from a scoring perspective, Ezeli still takes a lot of pride in excelling defensively while allowing offensive-minded studs such as Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson to dominate on the other end, per Scott Ostler of the San Francisco Chronicle.

"I never deviate far from my roots, which is defense," Ezeli said. "So when I go into a game, I try to make my statement on the defensive end. On the offensive end, my job is to screen, get our shooters open...finish around the basket, roll hard."

Ezeli started several games early in the season when Andrew Bogut was out of action, and he largely carried the load as the only true center on the roster during that time. While the Warriors were doing just fine without him, there's no doubt the team is stronger with the reserve. 


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