OAKLAND – Warriors coach Steve Kerr confirmed that a rare spinal fluid leak resulting from his first offseason back surgery is the cause of continuing headaches that forced him to take a leave of absence.
Eleven days after the Warriors announced Kerr would temporarily step aside to focus on rehabilitation, he gave his first interview Sunday and detailed why he doesn’t know when he will return to coach the team.
“The leak is fixed, but still getting some symptoms,” Kerr said of his follow-up surgery early last month. “And that’s why I’m out.
“And because I’m still having symptoms, it makes it difficult for me to be on the floor. And so the prospects are good. I’m going to heal. The doctor says everybody’s body is different. It’s a matter of your body sort of recalibrating. And unfortunately, it’s not like a sprained ankle, one to two weeks. There’s no telling. It’s a little bit open-ended, but everybody’s very confident everything will be fine.”
Kerr said surgery to repair a ruptured disc in July led to an accidental nick of the dura, which surrounds the brain and spinal cord. It took about a month to learn why he was experiencing symptoms – headaches being the main one. After the second surgery, he lasted two days of training camp before deciding to go on a leave.
Kerr said he has been balancing his schedule with rehab, exercise, rest, and keeping up with what’s going on with the Warriors. He has attended some practices for part of the time, completely missed others and reviewed game tape of the Warriors’ preseason action. He said he was perhaps “over-reading” on his health situation.
“It’s no fun,” Kerr said. “I want to be here. This is my dream job. These are my guys coming off a title, the season starts in two weeks, it’s unbelievably frustrating. I want to be here, but I also know I’ve got to be careful. But when I’m at home, I’m bored. So, it’s tricky.”
Kerr said he has not questioned his long-term future as a coach going through the grind of an NBA schedule.
“I’m 50 years old,” he said. “I’m in good shape. I’m in good overall health. This is a unique circumstance, and once it’s resolved, I’ll be fine.”
Kerr said he wanted to be upfront with fans and media members about his condition after declining an interview request Friday while attending the Cal volleyball game.
“I’m not going to put a timetable on when I’m going to come back,” Kerr said. “I have to get my health right before I can coach the team, before I can bring the energy that’s necessary to coach the team.
“When you are forced to be away, it hurts.”