OAKLAND — Warriors guard Monta Ellis rejoined the team Monday and defiantly insisted that his absence had nothing to do with his surgically repaired left ankle.
Ellis, who missed the first 43 games of the season after injuring his ankle in a moped accident (and was subsequently suspended because of it), returned for 13 games before the Warriors announced he would have to take one to two weeks off because of stiffness. But Ellis said Monday that the only reason he left the team was to be with his ailing mother, Rosa.
"There's nothing wrong with my ankle," Ellis said after Monday's practice. "I went to see my mom. My mom was sick. I went home to see her. That's why I took the time off. It had nothing to do with my ankle."
The Warriors announced Feb. 22 that Ellis would take the time off. The team's first game without him was a loss to the Los Angeles Clippers the next day. Ellis was with the team at practice the following day before traveling to Mississippi to see his mother.
Ellis was scheduled to see a doctor later Monday and, presuming he is cleared to play, will practice today and return for Wednesday's game against the New Jersey Nets.
When he does, Ellis will play exclusively point guard for the rest of the season. Warriors coach Don Nelson said Monday he wants to see how Ellis performs running the team for the final 19 games because that's where he sees him playing for the long haul. Ellis had been
"I think it's time to concentrate on seeing if he can be a (point guard) and see how that's going to work," Nelson said. "That's my plan. The obvious place for him is (point guard)."
Nelson said his ideal backcourt would have Ellis running the point with Stephen Jackson playing off-guard.
Nelson declined to comment on a report last week by Bay Area News Group that he had a meeting with guard Jamal Crawford and told him to opt out of his contract or he would be traded. Nelson acknowledged he had a conversation with Crawford but wouldn't elaborate.
"That was a private meeting," Nelson said. "There were only two at the meeting. I haven't discussed it with anybody. If I discuss that, I think I want to discuss that at a different time."
Crawford has two years for just under $20 million left on his contract but can opt out after this season.
The Warriors are in the process of waiving seldom-used point guard Marcus Williams, but the paperwork wasn't finalized by the end of the day.
The Warriors acquired Williams for a first-round draft pick in July, but he played in just nine games for a total of 54 minutes.
When asked what didn't work with Williams, Nelson replied: "Everything."
"It just wasn't a good fit," Nelson said. "I like him very much. It was a really tough situation and he was a model citizen. He worked hard and was a pleasure to be around. His style just wasn't my style. He's better in the half-court."
And you are?
Nelson walked by injured forward Brandan Wright at the end of practice and jokingly said: "I don't think we've met. I'm Coach Nelson."
Wright was back on the floor Monday doing individual work and plans to participate in a full practice today. Wright has missed the past 26 games with a dislocated left shoulder.
"I would have loved to have Brandan Wright the whole way because I thought he was really coming nicely," Nelson said. Wright isn't expected to play Wednesday, but Nelson said he hopes Wright can play in some games down the stretch.
Off the glass
Crawford and center Ronny Turiaf missed practice because of travel complications returning from the team's day off. Forward Corey Maggette had an excused absence to tend to personal business. ... Forward Kelenna Azubuike, who missed the past three games with a mid-back strain, and center Andres Biedrins, who missed the past two games because of a family matter, each returned to practice.
— Jonathan Okanes