The Warriors will be without two starters — guard Monta Ellis and center Andris Biedrins — when they start a five-game road trip tonight in Miami.
They will get some help. NBA Development League star Reggie Williams is expected to sign a 10-day contract today. Still, the absence of Ellis and Biedrins will leave the Warriors with eight players in uniform for the 27th time this season.
Back pain, which kept Ellis out of the lineup in Saturday's home win over Detroit, prevented him from traveling. Ellis had an MRI on Monday in the Bay Area. His status will be determined after doctors review the results — possibly today. Ellis could join the team at some point on the trip.
Biedrins will not join the team on this trip because of a right groin injury. He is scheduled to be examined in Philadelphia on March 8 by Dr. William Meyers, a leading expert in the field of sports hernias and groin injuries. Biedrins' recovery plan and timetable for return will be determined after his examination.
Biedrins suffered the injury in the third quarter of the win over Detroit and did not return. He already missed 24 games between Nov. 8 and Dec. 28 because of a lower-abdominal injury. He recently was criticized publicly by coach Don Nelson for a lack of passion on the court and his hesitation on offense.
C.J. Watson is likely to start in Ellis' place, alongside rookie guard Stephen Curry. Biedrins' backup, center Ronny Turiaf, will get the nod at center, with third-string center Chris Hunter figuring to get more minutes than usual.
Williams, a 6-foot-6, 210-pound small forward for the Sioux Falls Skyforce in the D-League, could see significant action tonight. He averaged 26.4 points on 57.6 percent shooting in 31 games with the Skyforce. According to the D-League Web site, the 23-year-old from Virginia Military Institute has not played in the NBA.
Even before starter Corey Maggette went down with a strained left hamstring, Nelson had said on several occasions that he needs a small forward. Maggette won't play on the trip, and Nelson has been starting Anthony Morrow at small forward, leaving no guards to come off the bench.
The Warriors already have had two small forwards from the D-League: Cartier Martin and Coby Karl. In order to pick up Martin, the Warriors would have to guarantee him for the rest of the year because he already has had the maximum two 10-day contracts with Golden State.
Karl signed only one 10-day contract with the Warriors and drew rave reviews from Nelson, mostly because of his passing. Karl averaged 16.1 minutes in a seven-game stint.
But this time, the Warriors opted for the high-scoring Williams, who was named D-League player of the month on Monday. In nine games last month, he averaged 28.1 points on 60 percent shooting with 4.9 rebounds and 3.5 assists.
Shaq done for regular season; Cavs don't miss him in blowout of Knicks. Page 2