Stephen Curry will likely be out of the lineup for Game 3 after a slow week of rehab for the Golden State Warriors star.
Curry has been slowly rehabbing his sprained right knee, doing some individual work this week. But he was unable to participate in scrimmages, ESPN reported, which is a key step that team doctors want to see before he can be cleared for a return.
Curry injured his knee just before halftime of his team’s Game 4 win over the Houston Rockets in the first round. Curry lunged near mid-court to defend a shot and slipped on a wet spot, banging his knee off the ground. He tried to return after halftime but shook his head after testing the knee and returned to the locker room.
The following day, he was diagnosed with a Grade 1 MCL sprain, the lowest level. The team said he would rehab for two weeks before being evaluated again.
Warriors coach Steve Kerr said Curry is still progressing along nicely in his rehab and is increasing his work in the weight room, but likely won’t be ready in time for Game 3.
“It’s tough to see him playing Saturday,” Kerr said. “He’s gotten better and better each day.”
With the Warriors holding a 2-0 lead over the Portland Trail Blazers, the team may be in no hurry to rush Stephen Curry back onto the court. Even without the league MVP, the Warriors have easily handled their postseason competition, and in Game 2 got 27 points from Klay Thompson to rally from an 11-point deficit in the fourth quarter and defeat the Portland Trail Blazers 110-99.
Without Curry on the court, the Warriors rose to the challenge, Thompson said after the game.
“It started with how focused we were in that fourth,” he said, via ESPN. “We’ve been down and out before…. We were just locked in on both sides of the ball. We can build on this game. That effort there in the fourth quarter is what it’s going to take to beat this team.”
Blazers coach Terry Stotts said the game showed that his team could compete with the Warriors, but they were just unable to finish it out in the fourth quarter. The Blazers would now need to seize on their opportunity in Game 3, taking on the Warriors in Portland and without Stephen Curry in the lineup. A loss would put them in a likely insurmountable 3-0 hole.
Though he won’t be on the court, Stephen Curry can still make his presence felt. When the Warriors were trailing early in Game 2, Curry could be seen loudly encouraging his teammates in the huddle, adding his input alongside Kerr.
The Warriors will stay in Oakland on Friday to practice and then fly to Portland in the afternoon. Curry will get some extra work, doing some two-on-two work with coaches Luke Walton, Jarron Collins, and Theo Robertson.
Kerr said Curry won’t be back in the lineup until he can show solid progress.
“That’s what we did in Houston with the ankle. He wanted to play but he hadn’t practiced,” Kerr said. “We gave him two straight days of three-on-three, five-on-five, and he felt pretty good. So that’s why he started out Game 4. We probably need to get through that process. We need to see him in rhythm, cutting, moving and see how he responds the next day as well.”
If the Golden State Warriors can win in Saturday’s Game 3, it could change the timing of Stephen Curry’s return from injury. With a 3-0 lead, the team would be able to take it slow, not rushing Curry back and risking re-aggravating the injury. That could mean Curry is out until the Western Conference Finals.
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