Bogut still hoping he can play on opening night

October 10, 2012, 10:30 pm
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OAKLAND As the Warriors regular season creeps closer andcloser, the questions about center Andrew Bogut get louder and louder.Will he or wont he be ready for the Oct. 31 opener againstthe Suns in Phoenix?Bogut is still targeting that game to return, but it seemsapparent there is a real possibility his Warriors debut could come later thanthat.After the trade, obviously you want to be out there, Bogutsaid earlier this week. Thats the dangerous thing about these injuries. Icant let what other people are thinking and wanting affect the injury. I needto come back 100 percent. I want to be out there. Ive thought of manyscenarios, and I want to be 100 percent ready for that first game.But if we get to a point where its still 95 percent, Ill play in the second game. But Idefinitely want to be back out there. But at the same time I want to be verysmart with it. I dont want to come back for the first game and then in lateNovember have a setback. I want to come back and be back. I dont want to haveto miss games or practices.Bogut fractured his left foot on Jan. 25, and has yet to becleared to play 5-on-5 and resume all basketball activities. However, he hasstepped things up in the past few days and his goal remains to play in apreseason game or two before he gets out there for real.I would love to play in a preseason game or two because Ihavent play a game of basketball since January, Bogut said. For my mentalcapacity I want to get out there and play a game or two before the first(regular-season) game. I dont want to be rehabbing and then go straight intoan NBA game. Its a tricky situation, but you just have to staypositive.One way to stay positive would be to get the go-ahead in aweek or so to play five-on-five.Just running, dunking, cutting those are the main threethings that I have problems with and Im starting to respond well to that. Buttheres still some tightness when it gets fatigued and thats the main problem.It gets fatigued and my running pattern changes a little bit and thats goingto cause some problems. Otherwise, short bursts of 30- and 40-minute sessionsare great and Im doing well.Until Bogut returns, rookie Festus Ezeli will hold down thecenter spot. But Warriors coach Mark Jackson acknowledges that not having Bogutmeans the Warriors arent at their best.It certainly affects us, Jackson said. The reason why isbecause hes our starting center and hes a weapon that we dont have. Festuscan duplicate some things defensively he can protect the paint, he can blockshots and he can rebound. But Boguts ability to obviously defend, to postup to pass the basketball gives usa weapon that we havent practiced with. It definitely affects us. And guys onthis team have never played with him before and hes never played with them.But that will take care of itself.

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