When Jason Kidd left the bench for the operating table, some NBA coaches understood exactly how he felt.
Their bodies hurt, too.
The Golden State Warriors have been playing all season without Steve Kerr, who is recovering from back surgery. Kidd joined him on the injured list when he had to step away from the Bucks in December for right hip surgery, an injury that has far more to do with his outstanding 19 years on the court than his 2 1/2 seasons in the coaching box.
Orlando’s Scott Skiles said all former players experience some kind of pain — and maybe some fears they’ll end up like Kidd.
“I don’t know anybody that doesn’t,” he said. “I didn’t play 50,000-plus minutes like Jason did, and I certainly didn’t have anywhere near the type of career that he had, but yeah, I would say all ex-players feel it.
“You’re always worried about what he’s going through. A knee replacement, a hip replacement, something like that going on at some point, and you just cross your fingers, try to stay healthy, and hope it doesn’t happen to you.”
Coaches are given advice on how to prevent it. Dallas coach Rick Carlisle said the National Basketball Coaches Association has wellness consultants and other specialists who talk to the members about health and fitness.
“We’re always sending out emails to our guys on diet, things that they should be doing, things to check,” Carlisle said. “As president of the coaches association, I encourage our guys to get full physicals every year. I get one. You know, it’s a hard business, it’s a challenging business and so you’ve got to watch your health and you’ve got to work at your health.”
Kidd traveled with the Bucks for the first time since his procedure for their game Sunday in New York, where he had the operation at the Hospital for Special Surgery. He met with his surgeons and had an X-ray to see how his recovery is progressing.
STEPH OR STEVE?
Klay Thompson would let his fellow Splash Brother sink.
Stephen Curry shouldn’t worry. Draymond Green would save him.
Thompson and Green were asked the same question during recent social media chats with Chinese fans: If Curry and Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr both fell in a river, who would they save first?
“I’ll probably have to go with Steve first, because if I save Steph first, Steve controls the playing time so he’d probably bench me,” Thompson said, according to a transcript provided by the NBA. “That’s a tough one. But I’d have to go with coach Kerr so I don’t get benched.”
Green would go with the MVP first and think about the coach later.
“I’d pick Steph!” he said. “We won a ton of games without Steve Kerr and I don’t think we’d have won without Steph.”
Clippers stars Chris Paul and DeAndre Jordan, Houston’s Dwight Howard, Miami’s Chris Bosh, Washington’s John Wall, Orlando’s Nikola Vucevic and Boston’s Isaiah Thomas also took part.
Things to watch this week:
TEXAS TEST: San Antonio gets perhaps its biggest test thus far after a 22-0 home start when it hosts Cleveland on Thursday. The Cavaliers won in San Antonio last season, 128-125 in overtime behind a career-high 57 points from Kyrie Irving.
BASKETBALL IN BRITAIN: The NBA returns to London this week when the Toronto Raptors and Orlando Magic meet Thursday at the O2 Arena.
DRAYMOND IN DETROIT: The league leader in triple-doubles gets to play before his home fans Saturday when Saginaw, Michigan native and former Michigan State star Draymond Green leads Golden State to face the Pistons.
FEUDING FOES: New York’s trip to Memphis on Friday is the first game between the teams since Grizzlies forward Matt Barnes had a preseason altercation in California with Knicks coach and former teammate Derek Fisher, which later cost him a two-game suspension without pay.
STAT LINE OF THE WEEK: Kristaps Porzingis, Knicks: 28 points, 11 rebounds in a 100-99 loss to San Antonio. He became the first rookie to reach those numbers twice since Blake Griffin did it 16 times in 2010-11.