DENVER -- Already missing their starting power forward, David Lee, the Warriors entered Tuesday night's game with just a fraction of their back-up center. Festus Ezeli is playing through a sprained right knee. As a result, he has to wear a bulky brace that is limiting his mobility and explosiveness.
However, coach Mark Jackson didn't have much choice but to play the Ezeli in Game 2 against the Denver Nuggets. With Lee out with a torn right hip flexor, the Warriors need the rookie out of Vanderbilt to eat minutes. Ezeli said he's ready.
"My leg ain't broke," he said with a smile before the game.
Ezeli sprained the knee in the season finale at Portland last Wednesday. He played only six minutes in Game 1, partly because he wasn't moving well (and because starting center Andrew Bogut was playing so well).
Ezeli hasn't been cleared to play without the brace. He said the brace slows him down and limits his jumping. It's a sleeve with a metal fixtures designed to hold his knee in place.
Still, Ezeli said he was ready to bang with Nuggets' Kenneth Faried, a relentless power forward known as "The Manimal."
When asked how he planned to do that in his limited state, Ezeli didn't say a word. He just tapped the left side of his chest.