by Marcel Mutoni / @ marcel_mutoni

The Golden State Warriors clinched the sixth seed in the Western Conference Monday night, but they’ll likely go into postseason battle without center Andrew Bogut.

The team announced that Bogut suffered a fractured rib, which is dangerously close to his right lung (risking a potential puncture), and there’s no telling when the big Aussie will suit up again.

Bogut thinks he first injured the rib against Denver last Thursday, and he was understandably dejected when talking to reporters about his season possibly being over.

Per the San Fran Chronicle:

“Because of how hard he’s worked, how much of a professional he’s been and how much he means to this basketball team and our success, it certainly is disappointing,” Warriors head coach Mark Jackson said before Monday’s game against Minnesota.

“Well, we’re a no-excuse basketball team. Next man stand up,” Jackson said. “We prepared for this all season long, and it’s going to be a great opportunity for other guys. We move forward and other guys are expected to step in and fulfill a role.”

“I’m going to dedicate the summer to learning how to play while avoiding contact at all costs, I guess – moving out of the way, not taking charges and not trying to block shots,” joked Bogut, who missed 50 games while recovering from a microfracture procedure in his ankle and has also had a gruesome elbow injury. “All of my injuries have been high-impact injuries. I put my body on the line to try to take a charge or a block a shot, and unfortunately, I’ve been on the tail end of them. There are some players in the league who are very good strategically at avoiding contact, so I guess I need to watch them and bring that into my game.”

35-year-old Jermaine O’Neal will likely start in Bogut’s place, with David Lee, Draymond Green and Marreese Speights providing backup.

Andrew Bogut played in 67 games this season, averaging 7.3 points (on 62.7% shooting), 10 rebounds and 1.7 assists. He is the anchor of the Warriors’ defense – ranked among the NBA’s best – and provides the team with a much-needed menacing low post presence.

Warriors fans can only hope and pray that like David Lee last season, Andrew Bogut has a miracle Playoff return up his sleeve.