(Reuters) - The NBA champion Golden State Warriors could be without head coach Steve Kerr for the start of the 2015-16 season after he took a leave of absence on Thursday as he recovers from back surgery.
Kerr, 50, who guided the Warriors to the NBA championship in his first season in charge, had surgery to repair a ruptured disc in late July and then a follow-up procedure last month.
“After the first two days of training camp, I realized I need to take a step back and focus on my rehabilitation in order to be ready for the grind of another NBA season,” Kerr said in a statement.
“As I noted last week, my summer was difficult and no fun due to the multiple back surgeries. At this point, I simply want to get healthy and back to my normal daily routine on and off the court.”
The Warriors, who clinched a fourth NBA title for the franchise with a 4-2 series victory over Cleveland in June, open their 2015-16 regular season on Oct. 27 at home against the New Orleans Pelicans.
“At this point, the most important thing is to make sure Steve is healthy, completely recovered and ready for not only the rigors of a long NBA season, but day-to-day life in general,” said Warriors general manager Bob Myers.
“We don’t anticipate the recovery process will be long term, but as of today we don’t know the exact time frame.”
Luke Walton, Golden State’s lead assistant coach, will serve as interim head coach in Kerr’s absence.
Reporting by Mark Lamport-Stokes in Los Angeles; Editing by Frank Pingue