Warriors head coach Steve Kerr returns to bench

FILE - In this Wednesday, June 10, 2015 file photo, Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr listens to a question during a press conference following Game 3 of basketball's NBA Finals against the Cleveland Cavaliers. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak, File)

Golden State Warriors Head Coach Steve Kerr is returning from his leave of absence and will be on the bench to coach the Warriors tonight in their game against the Indiana Pacers at Oracle Arena, the team announced Friday.

Kerr originally took a leave of absence on October 1, 2015, to focus on rehabilitation and recovery from a pair of offseason back surgeries. 

After leading the Warriors to a franchise-record 67 regular-season victories in 2015-16 and the team’s first NBA Championship in 40 years, Kerr underwent surgery on his back to repair a ruptured disc in late July and a follow-up surgery in early September.

Luke Walton, the team’s lead assistant coach, served as interim head coach in Kerr’s absence and helped guide the Warriors to a 39-4 record, which equals the second-best record through 43 games in NBA history (trailing only the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls at 40-3). 

Walton was named NBA Coach of the Month in November as the Warriors began the season with 24-consecutive victories, the most wins ever to start a season in professional team sports.