David West has undergone four surgeries in his long NBA career: left knee, right elbow and right foot twice to fix a couple of toes.
"I don’t even like saying all that," he said.
So, yes, West knows real pain. Draymond Green has never needed an operation - he knocks on a table not once but twice as to not jinx himself - yet he considers that the option of using medicinal marijuana "makes a lot of sense."
Steve Kerr’s players believe his voice can go far in starting a serious, thoughtful dialogue in professional sports regarding marijuana use for pain relief.
"You look at something that comes from the Earth. Any vegetable that comes from the Earth, they encourage you to eat it," said Draymond Green at shootaround Saturday. "It does make a little sense as opposed to giving someone a manufactured pill."
"If something takes your pain away like some of these pills do, it can’t be all good for you...He talked about Vicodin. Toradal, you can be completely hurting and then take a Toradal shot and go through a game and feel nothing. Is that really good for you over the course of time? I doubt it."
The reigning NBA Coach of the Year acknowledged he tried marijuana twice in the past 18 months while dealing with debilitating back pain that still affects him this season. Sure, it caught the team by surprise, West said, because "it came out of nowhere."
Kerr told Comcast SportsNet Bay Area’s Warriors Insider Podcast with Monte Poole on Friday that he used medicinal marijuana but it didn’t help - and painkillers have often been worse.
"I have no idea if I would, maybe I would have failed a drug test, I don’t even know if I’m subject to a drug test or any laws from the NBA," Kerr said. "I tried it and it didn’t help at all."
He was expected to further address the marijuana use before Saturday night’s game against Phoenix at Oracle Arena.
Green said he hasn’t needed painkillers nor has he tried marijuana, never having a serious injury or requiring surgery. Guard Klay Thompson would support drugs for medicinal use only.
"Steve’s open-minded, and obviously with the way the world’s going, if there’s anything you can do that’s medicinal, people are all for it, especially when there’s stuff like Crohn’s disease out there, glaucoma, a bunch of stuff, cancer. But not recreationally, that should not be of its use ever. There’s a medicinal side to it that people are finding out have benefits, especially people with really high pain."
California was the first state to embrace legal, medicinal marijuana two decades ago. Twenty−eight states and Washington, D.C., now allow marijuana for medical or recreational purposes.
The 51-year-old Kerr missed the first 43 games last season and the team’s record 24−0 start while on a leave of absence following complications from two back surgeries. A spinal fluid leak led to terrible headaches, nausea and neck pain among other symptoms that left him feeling frustrated and down.
Kerr noted, "athletes everywhere are prescribed Vicodin like it’s vitamin C, like it’s no big deal." He said he hopes sports leagues "are able to look past the perception" and that it’s only a matter of time to change rules and thinking.
Green and West believe that can happen, that over time people might become more open−minded when the person speaking up is someone like Kerr, who was selected the Western Conference Coach of the Month for November.
"He’s a public figure with some notoriety making a statement," West said. "It brings more attention to a cause for something that people feel like there needs to be a shift in the way we monitor it and change things. Obviously somebody of his stature can give a little weight to the argument."
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