Warriors C Zaza Pachulia exits with injury

Dec 3, 2017; Miami, FL, USA; Golden State Warriors center Zaza Pachulia (27) warms up before a game against the Miami Heat at American Airlines Arena. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Golden State Warriors center Zaza Pachulia is unlikely to return to Wednesday night’s game against the Charlotte Hornets with left shoulder soreness. Pachulia exited the game in the first quarter.

The Warriors are already playing shorthanded on Wednesday night with point guard Stephen Curry sidelined with an ankle injury. In his five minutes spent on the floor against Charlotte, Pachulia missed the only shot he took and snatched three rebounds.

His start on Wednesday was his 25th of the season, having missed just one game all year. Despite serving as the team’s starting center, he averages fewer than 15 minutes per game while racking up 5.2 points and 4.9 rebounds on a nightly basis. Primarily on the floor for his defensive prowess, he is connecting on 56.7 percent of his shots thus far in 2017-18.

Pachulia is now in his second season with Golden State, having started all 70 regular season games he appeared in last year. Despite playing just 18.1 minutes per game, he shot a career-high 53.4 percent from the field, while going on to win his first NBA championship.

The native Georgian has crafted out a long-standing NBA career since he joined the league as a second-round pick of the Orlando Magic in the 2003 NBA Draft.

Without Pachulia in the lineup, look for center JaVale McGee to potentially take on an increased role. The emergence of rookie Jordan Bell has helped in the frontcourt, while David West and Draymond Green will continue to get minutes as small-ball centers.

His next chance to return to the court comes on Friday night when the team travels to take on the Detroit Pistons.

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