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Andrew Wiggins discusses long-term absence, conditioning after returning to Warriors

© Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

There have been constant, pressing questions surrounding the absence of Andrew Wiggins for more than two months. As he returned to the team on Tuesday, some of those questions were answered.

Wiggins departed due to a personal matter on February 14 which became a 22-game absence.

The Athletic’s Shams Charania reported Monday night that his absence was due to a “serious medical situation” with his father, Mitchell Wiggins.

None of Wiggins, Bob Myers, nor Steve Kerr confirmed whether that was indeed the case in pregame press conferences before the team’s game with the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Wiggins didn’t offer details of the situation, but stressed the importance of being there for his family. He said he returned after he felt he was in a “safe place” to come back.

“When you’re in a certain situation and your family needs you and it requires your attention and your love, that’s my first priority,” Wiggins said. “In my career, everything, family is always first for me. It will always be that way. I felt like I was in a safe space to be able to come back. I feel like we got everything settled — not fully settled, but in a safe place where I could come back.”

Kerr said that Wiggins’ absence was not “mysterious” to the team. He said they were informed by Wiggins from the very start what he was dealing with.

He reinforced a sentiment expressed by Myers that the Warriors felt it important to — for the most part —leave Wiggins alone during that time.

“We didn’t call him and text him all the time,” Kerr said. “We checked in occasionally, but we were just trying to give him give him the space.”

Myers thanked Wiggins, his teammates, Warriors staff, and local media for declining to offer personal details on the situation.

“That’s a pretty rare thing now in our business, to respect the personal life of someone that’s in a public job,” Myers said.

He said the Warriors will “always fully support” a member of the organization dealing with a family matter, calling it an “easy decision.”

While Wiggins won’t return to the court on Tuesday, he’s now in a place where he will likely be available for the playoff and/or the play-in tournament. Steve Kerr didn’t offer a concrete timeline for Wiggins, but discussed his process to return to the court here.

It’s a situation which leaves Golden State, with three games to go, nearly at full strength. As Kerr put it:

“Once Andrew is able to play, it will feel like we’re complete.”