The Golden State Warriors sure seem to be doing just fine without Stephen Curry these days, but the reigning NBA Most Valuable Player remains eager to return to the court from his right knee sprain as soon as possible.
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After tests confirmed that Curry had suffered a sprained medial collateral ligament during his slip-and-fall just before halftime of Game 4 against the Houston Rockets, the Warriors set a target for the star point guard's return at May 9, the scheduled date of Game 4 of their Western Conference semifinal series against the Portland Trail Blazers. But with several days of intensive rehab under his belt and a return to shooting (albeit from stand-still positions), Curry told ABC's Lisa Salters during Sunday's Game 1 that he's optimistic about being able to come back one game sooner:
[...] during a sideline interview with ESPN's Lisa Salters during Sunday's Game 1 win against Portland, Curry said the chances of him returning for Game 3 are "pretty good."
"To me they're pretty good so I'll do anything I can this week to make that happen," Curry said. [...]
"I'm doing a lot more rehab-wise, trying to test my body out a little bit," Curry told Salters. "I'm looking forward to getting back on the court, maybe a practice setting and see how it feels.
"I've gotten pretty much my full range of motion back. It's still painful but for the most part I can get on my feet and try to do basketball activities that will get me back into the playoff atmosphere."
The most important words Curry said, of course, are "to me." The Warriors' medical team and coaching staff will have to be confident that his knee has responded well to treatment and rehabilitation, and that a potential early reinsertion into the lineup won't carry unnecessary additional risk of reinjury, before signing off on getting No. 30 back in uniform.
When exactly everyone will be comfortable enough to pull that trigger remains to be seen, as Kerr said this weekend, according to Janie McCauley of the Associated Press:
"It just depends how his week goes," Kerr said of Curry's status for Saturday's Game 3. "We'll just monitor him and see how it goes and hopefully get him back at some point. It's nice to have that long break between 2 and 3." [...]
"It's all speculation," Kerr said. "As Bob said from the beginning, the two-week timetable was just kind of a random guess more than anything based on past history of these MCL injuries. So, we don't really know, but that's the hope, is that by the middle of next week we'll get him back in more basketball-type movements."
In the meantime, Curry seems to have plenty of confidence that an attack led by flamethrowing shooting guard Klay Thompson, triple-double machine Draymond Green and a defense that held high-scoring Blazers guards Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum to a combined 13-for-43 mark from the field can keep Golden State rolling along until he's cleared to return.
"I only played 38 minutes in the first round and we finished it in five," he said Sunday. "Obviously I'd like to be out there with them and I feel like we're a better team when I'm out there, but the way that they play and the way they have that confidence and swagger about them, it's fun to watch."
And if everything keeps moving along swimmingly, the return of the league's top scorer, best 3-point shooter and most electrifying offensive player could make it even more fun as soon as next weekend.
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