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Green doesn’t regret Gobert headlock as Golden State Warriors star prepares for return

Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green does not regret putting the Minnesota Timberwolves’ Rudy Gobert in a headlock earlier this month as he prepares to return from his five-game ban.

Green grabbed Gobert from behind and choked him for several seconds following a confrontation between the Warriors’ Klay Thompson and Minnesota’s Jaden McDaniels on November 14, in the first quarter of his team’s 104-101 defeat.

Green, Thompson and McDaniels were all ejected after the incident, with Green later handed a five-game suspension for his behaviour, which the NBA described as “unsportsmanlike and dangerous”.

The 33-year-old has thus been forced to watch the Warriors struggle from the sidelines, with the team losing three of the five games he missed, but he stands by his actions and says he was defending his team-mate Thompson.

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“I don’t live my life with regrets,” Green said after practice on Sunday. “I’ll come to a team-mate’s defence any time that I’m in a position to come to a team-mate’s defence.

“What matters to me is how the people that I care about feel, first and foremost.

“Things can be interpreted how people want to interpret them. I’m not here to judge people’s interpretations or try to change them. They are what they are.

“I know that for me, I am always going to be there for my team-mates. That’s who I am. That’s who I am as a team-mate, that’s who I am as a friend.

“Right, wrong or indifferent, look to your side and I’ll be there, or even in front of you.”

The NBA said Green’s “history of unsportsmanlike acts” contributed to the length of his suspension, but the forward believes receiving a second punishment for past misdemeanours is unfair.

“To continue mentioning, ‘well, he did this in the past’… I paid for those,” Green said. “I got suspended in Game 5 of the NBA Finals [in 2016]. You can’t keep suspending me for those actions.”

Green is eligible to return to the court when the Warriors travel upstate to face the Sacramento Kings on Tuesday, having lost eight of their last 11 games.

Green hopes his return will have a positive impact on the team’s mentality, adding: “Where I can help most is demanding that everyone is communicating.

“It’s not that I’m going to come back and it’s like, ‘oh, he’s the saviour’. That don’t work. There are no saviours in the NBA. But what I can do is come back and hold more people accountable.”

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