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Los Angeles Lakers center Jordan Hill, center, goes after a rebound as Golden State Warriors forward Andris Biedrins of Latvia and forward Richard Jefferson, right, defend during the second half of their NBA basketball game, Friday, Nov. 9, 2012, in Los Angeles. The Lakers won 101-77. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

OAKLAND -- It's too early to declare that Warriors center Andris Biedrins is back to his old self. And he certainly has a long way to go toward justifying the $9 million he's due this season.

But it was hard not to notice Biedrins' improved play the past two games. His energy, his hustle, his activity on defense -- all glimpses of Golden State's one-time secret weapon. Biedrins' contributions are even more of a bonus with starting center Andrew Bogut sidelined.

Coach Mark Jackson revealed after Tuesday's practice that Bogut will be out longer than the initially announced 7 to 10 days. Bogut, still recovering from offseason surgery on his left ankle, has missed the past two games and was ruled out of Wednesday's game against visiting Atlanta. Jackson said Bogut won't join the Warriors on the upcoming three-game trip, which means Bogut will miss at least 12 days and six games.

"We are going to continue to rehab, and when he's ready to go, he's ready to go," Jackson said. "I don't even think it makes sense to put a number on it. We're not going to force a timetable. We're just going to use wisdom."

Biedrins had eight rebounds in 19 minutes against Denver on Saturday. He had four rebounds in nine minutes Friday at the Los Angeles Lakers. In addition to relentlessly going after the ball, Biedrins made several hustle plays and played good defense.

It's a small sample, especially in light of the previous two seasons, which even Biedrins describes as bad. But he appears to be regaining his confidence.

"That's the really hard thing," he said after Tuesday's practice. "When a guy loses his own confidence in himself, that's really a tough thing to get back to the same high level it was. I'm on that way. I'm trying to get there."

The Warriors certainly could use the Biedrins who between 2006 and 2009 averaged 10.5 points and 10.0 rebounds.

"Whatever it is," Jackson said, "it's good to see, because we need him. ... We need what he brings."

The recent signs of life, Biedrins said, started with getting healthy. A strained groin that bothered him most of training camp is healed. That has helped lead to more impressive practices. Which has led Jackson to give Biedrins some minutes.

On Friday, Biedrins even drew the assignment of defending Lakers center Dwight Howard, a task he handled effectively.

"Since training camp, he's been in here working hard every day," forward Carl Landry said of Biedrins. "He looks like the player he was two or three years ago. He's a good player with experience, and I think he's definitely a bonus for this team."

Three turnovers against the Lakers showed that Biedrins still has issues with the ball in his hands. His poor free-throw shooting has been the subject of ridicule for years, and that, too, has affected the psyche of a formerly reliable finisher, who has gone from a career-best 11.9 points per game in 2008-09 to a 1.7 scoring average last season.

Biedrins said he can't get his offensive groove back unless he puts up shots during games. He was 0 for 2 in the double-overtime loss to Denver. But he had another breakthrough: making two free throws for the first time since Jan. 26, 2011, against New Orleans.

He said the support of fans -- the encouragement he receives when he steps to the line, or the cheers he gets when his hustle leads to an extra possession -- boosts his confidence.

"It's really nice. It just means they care about me," he said. "I heard some boos, but that's all right. That's normal. Obviously, I didn't have a great season before, and they're kind of (upset). That's OK. But it feels great that your home crowd is really behind you. They saw I was playing well, and they give me more and more energy. It was an awesome feeling."

  • The Warriors will hold Don Nelson Night on Wednesday, honoring the former coach for his induction into the Basketball Hall of Fame. Nelson will be in attendance.