Bogut says his ankles got so bad he considered retiring

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Andrew Bogut has been what Golden State needed him to be these playoffs.

After David Lee went down Bogut stepped up and has played well inside, being physical and protecting the rim, setting solid screens, providing some inside to balance out the crazy outside from Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson. He’s averaged 29 minutes a game with 8.9 points on 62 percent shooting plus 11 rebounds a game.

But earlier this season Bogut wasn’t sure he’d be here.

His ankles were so bad, and had been that way so long, that he was starting to think about if it was time to walk away, he told Scott Howard Cooper of NBA.com.

“I didn’t get to that point,” he said before the Warriors practiced in advance of Game 3 of the second-round series against the San Antonio Spurs on Friday night at Oracle Arena, “But it was definitely [something] I started to think about. I never got to a point where I thought, ‘This is it. I’m done.’ But I thought, ‘If this goes on for a year or two, there’s definitely a chance that I think about that.’

“I was really bad. The physical part of it is one thing, but the mental part of it’s the other. It was a tough time in my career. You always just start questioning yourself, and whenever you do that as an athlete, I think it’s probably not a great thing. When is this going to subside? When am I going to feel better? Am I going to be back to the same level I was playing at before the injury? How long is it going to take? Why is it taking so long? [I am] medically cleared to play, but am I being soft? Am I not going hard enough? Am I going too hard? Too many questions in your mind. I was frustrated.

We fans often have unrealistic “warrior” mentality expectations of players. We expect every player to be Jordan with the flu or Kobe with a broken finger. It’s not that Bogut didn’t want to be on the court, it’s not like he wasn’t working to get back (maybe too hard at time), but people heal differently, and different injuries heal at a different paces.

We hear team doctors say, “he’ll be back in three months” or whatever the timeframe is and we expect guys to be back sooner and be their old selves. It doesn’t always work out like that. The human body is a complex machine, and the mind that runs it can get frustrated trying to get healthy.

Watching Bogut move now he is clearly not 100 percent, he’s not yet back to the old Milwaukee version of himself. But he’s the closest we’ve seen. And that’s been key — he is not the star but he is a key role player for the Warriors right now. A Warriors team that has the Spurs number.

They just had to be patient.