OAKLAND -- The stat sheet from Sacramento on Monday showed another productive night for Andrew Bogut. But the winces on his face and the laborious way he ran the floor might have provided Warriors fans with reasons for concern.
At this point, it's probably hard to tell if Golden State's biggest acquisition in years should be sitting or playing. Even the Warriors themselves don't seem quite sure.
At first the team said Bogut would not play on his surgically repaired left ankle until it was 100 percent; but now he's playing 20 minutes per game while it is clearly not. Then the Warriors said they would gauge how he felt to determine his minutes; now how he feels is out of the equation.
The one thing that is clear: "The process," as coach Mark Jackson has been calling it since training camp began, seems to be taking a mental toll.
"I have a lot more work to do to get to a level where I play 40 minutes," Bogut said after totaling 12 points in 19 minutes of Monday's loss at Sacramento. "Conditioning wise, I don't feel too bad. That's getting better every game. But the ankle is still a work in progress."
So what is the deal with Bogut's left ankle, which was fractured in January and underwent arthroscopic surgery in April?
The Warriors said Bogut hasn't experienced any setbacks. He is just under strict protocol from Dr. Richard Ferkel, a renowned orthopedic surgeon who performed the surgery on Bogut's left ankle more than six
At the end of November, Ferkel and the Warriors' doctors will come up with the next phase of the plan based on Bogut's progress.
"Bogut has been cleared," Warriors general manager Bob Myers explained. "But if you're a runner and you injure your foot, you don't immediately come back and run a marathon."
Bogut will play Wednesday against Cleveland. Ever eager for the marathon, he has been frustrated after every game, especially losses. He said he will no longer talk about how his ankle feels as he's focused on getting through November "relatively sane."
"He's a guy that understands that as an organization we are looking out for his best interest," Jackson said after Tuesday's practice. "We could selfishly say let's play him as much as possible. But we understand how important he is to this team. He can make the pitch (for more minutes) all he wants, but we're going to stay true to the process."
Bogut is not alone in his suffering.
Jackson is having to employ the quadratic equation to properly manage Bogut's minutes. Analyzing which games Bogut will play in is just another duty for the second-year head coach.
And Myers, a rookie general manager who made the blockbuster trade to land Bogut, is having to ignore every competitive bone in his body to set an example of patience.
Many Warriors fans, teased by the way Bogut changes games when he's on the floor, seem to be growing antsy because of the lack of certainty.
But Ferkel has been adamant about easing Bogut along. In addition to regular treatment and rehab, Bogut has to all but keep an ankle diary. He was checked out by Ferkel in Los Angeles on Saturday. He will probably get a visit from Ferkel on Friday, when the Warriors visit the Los Angeles Lakers.
"It is what it is at the moment," Bogut said. "I'm just trying to get through these next three or four weeks relatively sane. Obviously, I'd like to be out there for more than (20) minutes. But that's not going to happen for a while."