Draymond Green is coming back.
Green, who was suspended indefinitely last month for striking Phoenix Suns center Jusuf Nurkić in the head, will make his return with the Golden State Warriors on Monday for their game against the Memphis Grizzlies, according to The Athletic’s Shams Charania.
Green has missed the past 16 games due to his latest suspension, but he was officially reinstated last week.
Green swung and struck Nurkić in the head during the Warriors’ game against the Phoenix Suns last month, which led to his ejection and indefinite suspension. Green was suspended for five games in November, too, after he put Rudy Gobert in a chokehold during a brawl in the opening seconds of a game.
Throughout his suspension, Green “completed steps that demonstrated his commitment to conforming his conduct to standards expected of NBA players,” the league said. He also “engaged in meetings with a counselor” and with the league, the Warriors and the National Basketball Players Association, all of which will continue. Green said he nearly retired from basketball altogether, but commissioner Adam Silver talked him out of it.
Green has averaged 9.7 points, 5.8 assists and 5.5 rebounds in 15 games with the Warriors this season, his 12th in the league. The Warriors went 8-8 without Green and have lost three of their past four headed into Monday's game in Memphis. They hold an 18-21 record, which is better than that of just three teams in the Western Conference.
While Green admitted that he’s in a much better headspace now after his suspension, and he knows he has to be a different player out on the court, he’s not going to change his game completely.
“My goal is not to come back and worry about crossing the line because I still have to come back and play the game the way I know how to play the game and be the best me that I can be for my team to help give my team a chance to win,” Green said on Tuesday. “As far as not crossing the line with a referee, yes, that’s a big point of emphasis for me. … But I didn’t make it to this point worried about touching the line. I didn’t help this team and this organization become what we’ve become by worrying about crossing the line."