OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) -Chris Mullin hopes Monta Ellis learned something about maturity when a misadventure with a moped left the Golden State guard with a severely sprained ankle.
The Warriors still haven't decided whether Ellis will feel that lesson in his wallet as well.
Mullin, the Warriors' top basketball executive, and coach Don Nelson tried Thursday to stay out of the debate about whether the Warriors will fine Ellis for participating in an offseason activity prohibited in the guard's new six-year, $66 million contract. Ellis will miss training camp and at least several weeks of the regular season after injuring his left ankle last month in his native Mississippi.
to change his story days later.
``I don't think anyone felt like it was the best-case scenario,'' Mullin said of Ellis' shifting story. ``There were some things that should have been done differently. I think he understands that. With all that said, now is the time for him to have our support. He did do something wrong and needs to be accountable for it, but I do think all the energy and effort goes into getting him healthy.''
Ellis underwent surgery to repair a torn ligament in his ankle, but the team still isn't certain how long its top returning scorer must spend in rehabilitation. The Warriors can't even be sure Ellis will still have the speed and skill that helped him to average 20.2 points last season.
Ellis is likely to miss a significant amount of the regular season, and Golden State must decide whether it's financially worthwhile to fine Ellis for his shenanigans at the risk of alienating the player expected to be the centerpiece of Nelson's offense this fall.
Nelson claimed he wasn't aware of Ellis' shifting story during his summer relaxation in Maui, and Ellis hasn't responded to requests for comment. Warriors president Robert Rowell, who hasn't given interviews about Ellis' accident, released a noncommittal statement Thursday.
n the next 7-10 days, and upon conclusion we will have a public announcement regarding our decision,'' Rowell said.
Ellis' troubles have taken the camp spotlight off Mullin and Nelson, who both will head into the season in the final year of their contracts. Both men claim they have no worries about their futures at Golden State, and Nelson hasn't decided whether he even wants to coach after this season.
Both also seem eager to forgive Ellis so they can get to work preparing the remaining Warriors for life after Baron Davis, who defected to the Los Angeles Clippers after Golden State won 48 games but didn't make the playoffs last season.
``Sometimes people learn more from experience than they do from questions and accusations and lectures,'' Mullin said. ``Is it the best way to do it? No, I'm not saying that. It could have a long-term effect. Sometimes, it could be very bad ... but sometimes, how you handle things is as important as what happened.''
Ellis averaged career bests in points, rebounds (5.0) and assists (3.4) last season while emerging as a dependable shooter for the league's highest-scoring club. Ellis was expected to take over from Davis as Golden State's starting point guard, but his absence means newcomer Marcus Williams is likely to play the position at first.
sissippi when his doctor clears him to travel, likely in the next few days. He will do rehabilitation in Oakland while his teammates make a preseason trip to China and get started on a season that's exponentially tougher in his absence.
Although Ellis delivered a blow to the Warriors' hopes of making a playoff run with their reconfigured roster, Mullin can even see a silver lining in that cloud hanging over the club's season.
``I think he'll learn a lot about himself,'' he said. ``He'll be able to draw back to it. I told him myself, if this could trigger him to really committing to an offseason program, then all of a sudden we've got a guy 24, 25, that's really got it together. We might be able to look back and be OK.''

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