Zaza Pachulia made a lot of headlines when he put his foot under an already hobbled Kawhi Leonard in Game 1 of Warriors-Spurs. Debates rang out on if it was intentional or not and if the play should be considered dirty. Pachulia came out in defense of himself saying that he was not a dirty player.
In Game 2, Pachulia went up for a dunk, but he landed awkwardly on his foot when landing. Pachulia attempted to play through it, but after halftime the Warriors pulled him from the game. Golden State announced that Pachulia had a right heel injury and would not return. He had X-rays on site, which came back fine but he will have an MRI Wednesday to see if there is further damage.
Ironically enough, the injury that sidelines Pachulia is a foot injury. Pachulia hasn’t been as good for the Warriors as Andrew Bogut was, but he’s still been a solid defensive big for them this season. He’s a bruiser and there’s value in that. Golden State can get by with Draymond Green and JaVale McGee, but Pachulia helps them avoid having to play Green too many minutes at center.
The Warriors will manage Game 2 without Pachulia, but if he’s out long-term they might have to start relying on JaVale McGee more, and he’s worked best this season as a jolt of energy rather than extended minutes. They could try to start Draymond Green at center, but as good as he is that will wear him down quickly. Golden State will definitely feel more comfortable about its center situation if Pachulia is healthy.