SAN FRANCISCO — Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr has cleared health and safety protocols. He rejoined the Warriors on Sunday as they begin to prepare for the Western Conference finals.
Kerr tested positive for COVID-19 just two hours before Game 4 of the Western Conference semifinals, thrusting associate head coach Mike Brown into the head-coaching seat for the final three games of the series.
Kerr called Brown on his way to Chase Center ahead of Game 4, telling Brown that he wasn’t feeling well and that he might have to step in. Just 30 minutes later, he registered a positive test.
Kerr said he had been experiencing minor symptoms before taking a test. A few cases internally prompted Kerr to take a test.
“I felt that if I passed this on to the team, I’ll never forgive myself,” Kerr said.
“Not easy to sit at home and watch, but the symptoms weren’t bad at all and it was just kind of my turn. It seems like the last couple years practically everyone on our coaching staff and team has had it at some point. So it was just my turn. Luckily, it wasn’t bad.”
But Kerr said his case was rather mild, saying he had a cough and some congestion.
While he was in the league’s protocols, Kerr stayed in constant communication with his team, participating in all of the coaches’ meetings via phone, addressing his players in a video conference, and having multiple conversations and continuous texts with Brown throughout the day.
Brown said that any decision he made during Kerr’s absence was ran by Kerr, but Kerr had a clear message for Brown while he managed the team: “Follow your gut.”
“Mike was fantastic,” Kerr said. “The whole staff was great. For Mike, in particular, what a difficult spot to be put into, especially given that he had just been hired by Sacramento. He had a lot going on … it put a lot of pressure on Mike and the rest of the staff. They were great … Mike did a phenomenal job.”
Kerr rejoins the Warriors three days before Game 1 of the Western Conference finals, and on the day that they will find out who they will face in the series. They will face either the Dallas Mavericks or the Phoenix Suns, who play Game 7 Sunday night.