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OAKLAND – The Warriors ruled out veteran Andre Iguodala for Game 1 of the NBA Finals against the Cleveland Cavaliers because of continued issues with a left lateral leg contusion and bone bruise. Game 1 is on Thursday at Oracle Arena.
The Warriors evaluated Iguodala on Tuesday and determined that he still has persisting pain accompanying the bone bruise and that there is inflammation of the nerve surrounding his left knee. The Warriors plan to reevaluate him prior to Game 2 on Sunday at Oracle Arena.
Iguodala had missed Games 4, 5, 6 and 7 of the Western Conference Finals against the Houston Rockets. He collided knees with Rockets guard James Harden at the end of the Warriors’ Game 3 win on May 20. Initially, both the Warriors and Iguodala did not consider the injury serious. But he has not been able to run without feeling any pain. Still, the Warriors said in a release that Iguodala is “making progress.”
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Although the Warriors had four healthy All-Stars in Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, Draymond Green and Klay Thompson, Iguodala’s absence contributed to the Warriors’ struggles in losses in Game 4 and 5. He has averaged 7.9 points on 47.9 percent shooting and 3.1 assists in 27.5 minutes through playoff games. He also served a bridge between the Warriors’ All-Stars and a bench unit that has lacked consistency.
As for the NBA Finals, Iguodala had become the primary defender on Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James in the previous three matchups. So much that Iguodala won 2015 Finals MVP because of his stellar defensive play. Without Iguodala, the Warriors will likely rely on Kevin Durant, Draymond Green, Kevon Looney, Jordan Bell and David West to share defensive responsibilities on James.