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Warriors' Andre Iguodala to Make 2023 Season Debut vs. Magic After Hip Injury Rehab

Paul KasabianFeatured Columnist IIJanuary 6, 2023

Golden State Warriors forward Andre Iguodala warms up before Game 5 of basketball's NBA Finals against the Boston Celtics in San Francisco, Monday, June 13, 2022. (AP Photo/Jed Jacobsohn)
AP Photo/Jed Jacobsohn

Andre Iguodala will debut for his 19th NBA season on Saturday against the Orlando Magic, per an announcement Friday on his Point Forward podcast with 11-year NBA veteran Evan Turner.

"We got 24 hours 'til I step on the court, man," Iguodala said. "It's a go. Officially announcing it on Point Forward, hope the fanbase is excited. I'm a little nervous but actually, I'm also excited. I try to play it cool, calm and collected all the time but excited to get there on the court, it's finally happening. A lot of folks been asking. Patience is a virtue, and now we're here."

Iguodala announced on the podcast in September that he was returning to the Warriors after previously mulling retirement.

Left hip injury management, per the injury report, kept Iguodala off the court for the first portion of the season. Head coach Steve Kerr told reporters on Nov. 9 that the team wanted him healthy for the back half of the year and that "he's not going to play in a game anytime soon."

The "back half" of the 82-game season is rapidly approaching with the 20-19 Warriors having played 39 matchups, and now Iguodala is back to help the team.

Iguodala, who turns 39 on Jan. 28, has been an instrumental part of the Warriors' championships since 2015.

He will have played eight of his 19 NBA seasons with Golden State when he steps on the floor against the Magic. The former Arizona star has been there for all four of the team's titles since 2015 and won the NBA Finals MVP during that year.

For his Warriors career, the versatile 6'6" point forward has posted 7.0 points, 3.9 rebounds and 3.4 assists per game.

Injuries held him out for large chunks of last season, as Iguodala missed seven regular-season weeks with a back injury and most of the playoffs with a left cervical disk injury in his neck. He was able to return for the NBA Finals but only played 19 minutes.

But the Warriors should be getting reinforcements for the second half. Kerr told reporters on Jan. 2 that Iguodala scrimmaged with the Santa Cruz Warriors (Golden State's G League affiliate). Iguodala now appears good to go as the Dubs look to improve upon an up-and-down first half of the regular season in its title defense.

The Warriors will host the Magic on Saturday at 8:30 p.m. ET at San Francisco's Chase Center.