Warriors win in Bogut’s return from ankle injury
TORONTO, Canada – Australian big man Andrew Bogut played his first NBA game in nearly three months, scoring 12 points and grabbing eight rebounds for the Golden State Warriors in a 114-102 victory Monday at Toronto.
Bogut, who started and also blocked four shots and made a steal in 23 minutes on the court, had not played since November 7, missing 38 games in order to allow his surgically repaired left ankle time to strengthen.
“It has been a long season for me so far, a frustrating season mentally and physically,” Bogut said. “Just to be out there running up and down the court again, especially getting a win, it was very satisfying.”
The seven-foot Aussie center, who was the top pick of the 2005 NBA Draft, was traded from Milwaukee to the Warriors last March and only one month later underwent microfracture surgery on his left ankle.
Bogut played in four of the Warriors’ first five games this season, averaging 6.0 points and 3.8 rebounds before taking a break to help his ankle heal.
To work him back slowly, Bogut will play no more than 25 minutes a game for now.
“Just excited to be out there and play basketball again,” Bogut said. “It has been a bumpy ride, but I think it’s at a stage now where I’m ready to progress.”
Bogut opened with a left-handed hook on the Warriors’ first possession and slammed in a dunk shortly after that, netting four points and two rebounds in the first six minutes.
In the second quarter, Bogut forced a turnover and blocked two shots early, the second block setting up a 3-pointer that had the Aussie screaming with delight.
“We’re a different basketball team with him on the floor,” Warriors coach Mark Jackson said. “It was great to have him.
“He makes guys better and he completes us as a team.”
Bogut will not play in back-to-back games for the Warriors until after next month’s break for the NBA All-Star Game, meaning he will return to the bench for Golden State’s game Tuesday at Cleveland.
In his prior 412 NBA appearances, Bogut had averaged 12.6 points and 9.3 rebounds a game.
Bogut was among six double-digit scorers for the Warriors, who were led by forward David Lee’s 21 points and 12 rebounds.
Klay Thompson added 19 points and seven rebounds for Golden States while fellow guard Stephen Curry added 17 points before leaving the game with a mild right ankle sprain.
“Just got to try to stay positive and hope it heals quickly,” Curry said.
Golden State improved to 27-17, fifth in the Western Conference, while the Raptors, led by 22 points from Aaron Gray, fell to 16-29, 11th in the Eastern Conference.