SAN FRANCISCO — Brandin Podziemski laid face-down on the Chase Center hardwood, hardly moving as two trainers and Steve Kerr tended to him.
With 1:05 left in the half against the Celtics, the precocious Podziemski landed awkwardly, suffering what the Warriors later announced as a lower back strain. He headed into the locker room before halftime and didn’t return to the court.
Podziemski, 20, started each of Golden State’s last four games. He has blossomed into a rare, reliable rookie contributor for the Warriors, with teammates gushing over his basketball I.Q. and effort.
When Podziemski got injured on Tuesday night, he had tallied five points, five rebounds and an assist in 16 minutes.
“Some of the stuff that he does, you can’t teach,” Stephen Curry said of Podziemski on Dec. 16. “There’s a feel. Everything you just said — being in the right place, anticipating plays, hustle. He’s a master right now of the things you can control in the game of basketball.”
On the season, Podziemski has averaged 8.5 points, 5.0 rebounds and 2.7 assists in 21.8 minutes per game. His numbers have been ever better since late November, since he earned a regular rotation role. He has made a knack of taking charges and positioning himself in the right place for steals and grabbing rebounds over bigger opponents.
Podziemski has become a crucial piece for the Warriors as a secondary ballhandler and connector. He has fit into and learned Golden State’s free-flowing system significantly quicker than Warriors rookies of recent years.
If Podziemski has to miss time, Golden State will be down two regulars in him and Draymond Green, who’s serving an indefinite suspension. Against Boston, the Warriors played veteran Cory Joseph much more than usual after Podziemski was ruled out. Moses Moody, whose minutes have waned into the teens, could also see more playing time.
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