Steve Kerr sidelined by ruptured disc

The defending NBA champion Golden State Warriors surprised the basketball world Thursday by announcing that head coach Steve Kerr is taking a leave of absence to recover from back surgery.

The Warriors said in an announcement on their website that Kerr underwent surgery on his back in late July to repair a ruptured disc and had a follow-up surgery in early September.

The team said Kerr will take a leave of absence as he continues with his rehabilitation and recovery process. The length of his absence is unknown and will be based on his progress, according to the team.

Warriors general manager Bob Myers said in a statement:

“At this point, the most important thing is to make sure Steve is healthy, completely recovered and ready for not only the rigors of a long NBA season, but day-to-day life in general.”

Myers said:

“We don’t anticipate the recovery process will be long term, but as of today we don’t know the exact timeframe. We’ll evaluate his progress daily and provide updates as necessary.”

Kerr said in a statement:

“After the first two days of training camp, I realized I need to take a step back and focus on my rehabilitation in order to be ready for the grind of another NBA season.”

Kerr added:

 “As I noted last week, my summer was difficult and no fun due to the multiple back surgeries. At this point, I simply want to get healthy and back to my normal daily routine on and off the court.”

The Warriors said Luke Walton, the team’s lead assistant coach, will serve as interim head coach in Kerr’s absence.