Warriors coach Don Nelson was hoping he could keep forward Corey Maggette's minutes down to a reasonable number. But with the injury to Brandan Wright, that's not going to happen.
"Now, I'm going to have to play him more than I probably want to," Nelson said. "He's been terrific. It's just that you worry about him getting hurt. He has a history of not playing enough games in a season."
Maggette missed 31 games last season with various injuries: a strained left hamstring, a torn right hamstring, a concussion (followed by post-concussion syndrome), a hurting right wrist and a sore back.
So Nelson wanted to play him fewer than the 31.1 minutes per game Maggette averaged last year. Nelson said the hope is that fewer minutes translate into less wear and tear on Maggette's 6-foot-6, 225-pound body.
But Maggette, whose physical style of play makes him susceptible, said he's ready for whatever load Nelson wants to lay on him.
He said he's feeling his healthiest since joining the Warriors. He said his hamstrings, which were his biggest nemesis last season, are not an issue and he had minor surgery to fix his ailing wrist this summer.
"It's really nice of Nellie to try and serve (my needs)," Maggette said with a smile, "But I've done this before. Players get banged up sometimes. This summer, I worked hard on trying to stay healthy and do the right things, and I'm going to have faith that God will keep me healthy this whole
Nelson will use Maggette to play both forward positions, something he did last year. But second-year player Anthony Randolph and Wright were supposed to take up all the minutes at power forward while Maggette stuck to small forward, his natural position. But Wright's shoulder surgery, which could keep him out the entire season, forces Nelson to find a new backup for Randolph.
Nelson could try other options. The Warriors brought in veteran Mikki Moore. At 7-foot, 225 pounds, he can run the floor and stick a jumper — which is what Nelson wants from that position, among other things. But Nelson said he didn't bring Moore in to play many minutes.
Swingman Kelenna Azubuike, at 6-5, 220 pounds, is also an option at power forward, a position he played some last season.
Perhaps the best alternative is backup center Ronny Turiaf. For stretches last season, Turiaf and starting center Andris Biedrins played together and the Warriors were noticeably better on defense. But Nelson said that pairing couldn't go for long stretches because of how much offense they lost. Plus he said he likes the security of Turiaf backing up Biedrins.
That leaves Maggette as the most-likely option at power forward, though Nelson said last season the Warriors weren't as good with a small lineup.
"We've got a very young player in Randolph who's going to need spelling," Nelson said. "So (Maggette's) going to play a lot."
Notes: Nelson said he's not going to name another captain to replace Stephen Jackson. The Warriors will go with the three they have: guard Monta Ellis, Biedrins and Turiaf. ... Multiple sources confirmed former executive vice president of basketball operations Chris Mullin had the makings of a deal in place to send Jackson to the Eastern Conference, as Yahoo Sports reported Thursday. One of the sources said there were talks that included Detroit Pistons forward Tayshaun Prince. But the deal was nixed by team president Robert Rowell's extension talks with Jackson.