The Golden State Warriors became the first team in NBA history to start the playoffs 12-0, and they did most of that without head coach Steve Kerr holding the wheel.
The Warriors are used to executing at the highest level even when Kerr isn't manning the sidelines, rattling off their NBA record-breaking winning streak under the guidance of Luke Walton. Mike Brown is the latest assistant coach to step up into the huge role.
There's no doubt that Kerr's presence is missed, but Golden State is so talented and precise that they can carry out their gameplan even without their beloved coach hands-on leading them. The latest update on Kerr as the Warriors prepare for the NBA Finals doesn't sound promising, though.
The Warriors' celebration after sweeping the San Antonio Spurs got some sobering news when Kerr told Marc J Spears of ESPN's The Undefeated that he's "uncertain" about whether he'll be able to coach in the NBA Finals.
Kerr's been out since Game 2 of the Warriors' opening round against the Portland Trail Blazers and only recently traveled with the team, but has yet to return to his coaching post. Golden State has responded by looking unstoppable, surely making their ailing coach proud.
The absence of Kerr is related to the back surgery that he underwent following the Warriors' 2015 championship. He's had trouble recovering since the major operation, ultimately needing to bow out just as the Warriors were building up their playoff momentum.
"The last year-and-a-half I've been dealing with chronic pain after my back surgery. It's been difficult but I've managed it. I think I've coached until last night 150 straight games, so this is something I've been dealing with and doing OK. Ups and downs, but consistently coaching," Kerr said when he announce his hiatus in April.
"This past week, for whatever reason, things got worse and my symptoms got worse, and I was not able to coach. The last few days have been difficult."
It's a tough situation for Golden State, but the team has dealt with the adversity without skipping a step. The Western Conference fell to the mighty Warriors, but the NBA Finals await with a potential rematch with the Cleveland Cavaliers on the horizon.
All the Warriors can do is support their coach, who's clearly in a tremendous amount of discomfort because of his back. His team nabbing their second championship in three years might be the best relief possible for Kerr.