Golden State Warriors power forward David Lee was playing with a bad back for two weeks before tearing his right hip flexor in Saturday night's 97-95 Game 1 loss to the Denver Nuggets, according to Rusty Simmons of the San Francisco Chronicle.
Lee did not want the back injury to be reported and during games he attempted to hide the ice pack he used for treatment. Lee also played with a bad back last season, and he said taking time off this year with the issue was not an option:
"The only other option was to not play, and you guys who know me know that was not something I was even considering," said Lee, who hopes to avoid surgery for the hip injury and plans a full recovery by training camp. "It's very disappointing, but I know I left everything on the floor."
Lee had ten points and 14 rebounds in 29 minutes on Saturday, although he shot just 4-of-14. He tore his hip flexor early in the fourth quarter after getting fouled on a drive to the hoop.
Losing Lee is a tough blow for the Warriors, who will miss his scoring and rebounding. Lee led the NBA in double-doubles this year with 56, averaging 18.5 points and 11.2 rebounds. It's an especially rough loss considering Nuggets power forward Kenneth Faried will likely be back in the lineup for Game 2.
Warriors head coach Mark Jackson does have a few options to choose from in terms of replacing Lee in the starting lineup. Carl Landry seems like the logical choice, although Jackson could go with Draymond Green or Festus Ezeli. Going with Harrison Barnes at the 4 is also an intriguing possibility, although it makes less sense now that Faried is returning.