NBA suspending Warriors' Green indefinitely
The NBA is suspending Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green indefinitely for hitting Phoenix Suns centre Jusuf Nurkic in the face during the third quarter of Tuesday’s matchup, it was announced Wednesday.
The league said in a news release the penalty takes into account Green's history of repeated unsportsmanlike acts. Green was previously suspended five games this season for an altercation with Rudy Gobert during a game against the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Green "will be required to meet certain league and team conditions before he returns to play," read the NBA's statement.
ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reports that Green, Warriors general manager Mike Dunleavy Jr., and Green’s agent Rich Paul will meet on Thursday to discuss a path of counseling and help for Green moving forward. Wojnarowski adds the league did not want to suspend Green a specific number of games "to take the time he might need to deal with challenges he’s facing."
While battling for position along the sideline, Green spun around and hit Nurkic hard in the side of the head with his right arm, sending the Suns' centre to the ground in obvious pain. The play was whistled for a foul and then reviewed and upgraded to a Flagrant 2, which carries an automatic ejection.
Green apologized after the game, calling the blow unintentional.
"I am not one to apologize for things I mean to do, but I do apologize to Jusuf because I didn't intend to hit him," Green told reporters. "I sell calls with my arms ... so I was selling the call ... and I swung and unfortunately I hit him."
Nurkic said Green’s actions had “nothing to do with basketball.”
"I'm sensitive to our guys getting hit on plays like that," Suns head coach Frank Vogel said. "I didn't like it. The refs did what they had to do. The league will do what they have to do."
The NBA suspended the 33-year-old Green for five games in November for putting Gobert in a headlock and dragging him across the court during an altercation that originally started between teammate Klay Thompson and Minnesota's Jaden McDaniels.
Green is averaging 10.2 points, 5.8 rebounds and 6.1 assists in 14 games so far this season, his 12th in Golden State.