Zaza Pachulia Suffers 1st-Quarter Shoulder Injury vs. Hornets; Unlikely to Return

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistDecember 7, 2017

Golden State Warriors center Zaza Pachulia (27) shoots during warmups before the Warriors played against the Miami Heat in an NBA basketball game, Sunday, Dec. 3, 2017, in Miami. (AP Photo/Joe Skipper)
Joe Skipper/Associated Press

The Golden State Warriors announced big man Zaza Pachulia is "unlikely" to return to Wednesday's game against the Charlotte Hornets because of left shoulder soreness.

While the Warriors have more notable pieces in Draymond Green, Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson, Pachulia provides important interior depth.

He posted 6.1 points and 5.9 rebounds per game last season and then helped the Warriors win the championship with 5.1 points and 3.8 boards a night in the postseason. He has followed up with 5.2 points and 4.9 rebounds per game in his second season with the team.

The Warriors will likely have to rely more on David West and JaVale McGee if Pachulia misses extensive time and then turn to their lethal small-ball attack in critical stretches with Green serving as a de facto center.

Golden State still has more than enough to win the title without Pachulia, but losing him would stress the depth of the rotation.