Warriors' Ellis gets a pass

John Shea, Chronicle Staff Writer

The Warriors held a rare nighttime practice Monday, and Monta Ellis was
dressed for the occasion. Instead of high-tops, he had on a cozy pair
of slippers and had a whistle around his neck, though he didn’t appear
to do any coaching.

As his teammates ran the floor, he stood and watched, still shelved with what the Warriors call a strained right ankle.

Ellis, who’ll miss tonight’s game in Sacramento, didn’t address the media, but he told a team spokesman, "I’m good. I’m playing on Wednesday," when the Warriors host the New Orleans Hornets.

Cartier Martin replaced Ellis in Saturday’s lineup (a 112-103 loss at Phoenix), but coach Don Nelson wasn’t ready to say he’ll use the same starting five tonight. Martin and Anthony Tolliver, both call-ups from the NBA Development League, combined for 32 points and 16 rebounds in Ellis’ absence.

Nelson still maintains the guard’s injury isn’t serious, and Corey Maggette said Ellis wanted to fly to Phoenix and play but was held back by the Warriors’ medical department. For someone averaging a league-high 42 minutes a game, perhaps the downtime is welcomed.

"He wants to heal for the second half of the season," Maggette said. "He doesn’t want to burn out right now. So they’re giving him an opportunity to rest a couple of games."

Though Ellis still hasn’t publicly spoken about the injury, talk within the team has been contradictory as to when in Friday’s 111-79 win over New Jersey it occurred (nothing was detected from the telecast) and even to which ankle. Ellis had said the cold, rainy weather led to soreness in the left ankle, which was surgically repaired after his moped accident in 2008.


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