OAKLAND -– It had been 45 days since power forward David Lee sweated and grunted alongside his Warriors teammates, so his return to practice Saturday was a welcome sight indeed.
After a 21-game absence, Lee could return to action as early as Monday, when the Warriors face the Kings at Oracle Arena.
"He looked good," coach Steve Kerr said. "He's moving really well. His hamstring is fine. He's telling me everything else is sore, which is a good sign. He's getting back into basketball shape. He's been running a lot of sprints, but this is the first time he's scrimmaged full court, which was a good step, and he'll do that again tomorrow.
[POOLE: Kerr expects Lee back next week]
"All indications are that he'll play on Monday."
Lee initially strained his left hamstring in the Oct. 24 preseason finale against the Nuggets. He missed the first three regular season games, returning after 10 days to face the Clippers on Nov. 5.
That appearance lasted all of seven minutes before Lee – who has been regular starter at power forward ever since he was acquired in July 2010 – was limping off the court again, headed for the sideline for the next 21 games.
Kerr plans to initially bring Lee off the bench, where he can be used as a center or power forward. His return is particularly good news for the Warriors, who have been without center Andrew Bogut for the past 12 days and is expected to miss at least another two weeks and maybe up to a month.
An excellent passer from anywhere on the court, Lee adds much of the offensive dimension missing with Bogut out. Moreover, he also has the ability to keep defenses honest with a solid mid-range jumper.
"We're adding an All-Star power forward back our lineup, so that's huge,'' said Draymond Green, who has been starting in place of Lee. "To have him back out there is exciting. It's good to see him back out there, and I'm excited for him to really play."
Lee, 31, has signed through the 2015-16 season. He is the senior player on the roster and also the highest-paid.