With yet another discouraging setback following a declaration of progress, the Warriors have to acknowledge that they simply cannot rely on Andrew Bogut.
Not this week, not this month, not this season, maybe not ever.
Bogut, suffering from back spasms, wasn't with the Warriors on Sunday in Minnesota, where they stole a 100-99 victory over the Timberwolves, and the team is saying he will remain out "indefinitely."
As much as he detests being in the lineup one night and out the next, this is Bogut's status until further notice. The Warriors will be better off if they assume the 7-foot-1 center's absence and adjust when he's able to join them — if they presume Bogut is out, period, and consider it a bonus when he can play.
This will put considerable burden on Bogut's teammates and even greater onus on the coaching staff, so much that if the Warriors somehow win 48-50 games with the big man boomeranging in and out of the lineup, well, Mark Jackson ought to be rubber-stamped as your NBA Coach of the Year.
Though Jackson's chief lieutenant, combo guard Jarrett Jack, would of course deserve an assist, any coach who can juggle two rosters with two completely different identities and successfully adapt on the fly has overachieved.
Consider that Bogut was thought to be the key to the Warriors making a playoff run, much less entering March holding down one of the eight Western Conference berths.
Consider, too, that the every-other-game plan in place for Bogut at the start of the season quickly gave way after one week to the see-you-next-year plan. That's all it took to acknowledge more time was necessary to rehabilitate his left ankle, which nearly a year ago underwent the particularly intricate microfracture surgery.
When Bogut returned Jan. 28, ostensibly ready for action, the plan was for him to play every other game under a 25-minute limit until he was totally cleared.
That came last Tuesday, and he at times was effective Wednesday in a win over Phoenix. At long last, Bogut would become a fixture in the lineup, allowing him to form a bond with his teammates. His hoops IQ would make them smarter, his defense would protect the rim, and his size would help them match up with bigger teams over the final 28 games.