OAKLAND, Calif. – Golden State superstar Stephen Curry zipped around the court bouncing from spot to spot during his typical extensive post-practice shooting routine, driving to the basket past his regular practice coach Bruce Fraser.
Curry looked much like his healthy self except for a brace covering his injured right knee.
He returned to practice Friday to test his sprained knee and was strong in his lateral movement though the team didn’t scrimmage at all. And the Warriors still considered him doubtful to play in Saturday’s Game 3 of the Western Conference semifinals at Portland.
Coach Steve Kerr reiterated Friday that Curry was unlikely to play despite going through part of practice. Kerr was surprised to see reports of Curry being ruled out based on a radio interview he had given earlier in the day on the “Dan Patrick Show.” Kerr said he should have been clearer that he meant “probably” out.
“Today was by far the best he looked,” Kerr said. “He’s made progress each day. He took part on the court in a practice today. We didn’t scrimmage but we did a lot of defensive work, five-on-oh, full-court shooting stuff. He took part in all of it and he looked much, much better than he did even two days ago. It’s a great sign, but we still want to see him in a three-on-three, a five-on-five. I don’t think that will happen by tomorrow at 5:30 Portland time… I don’t see him playing tomorrow”
Curry and the Warriors practiced in the Bay Area before an afternoon flight to Oregon. Kerr had said a day earlier that the reigning MVP was unlikely to play because he hadn’t yet practiced or done any scrimmaging to test the knee – so scrimmaging is the next, perhaps final step before Curry’s return.
Kerr said Curry would be part of any conversations when it’s time for a decision to be made for him to get back in a game.
“Whatever we end up doing with him will be through his consultation, with his agreement, and we’ll figure it out together,” Kerr said.
The defending champion Warriors lead the best-of-seven series against Portland 2-0. Curry also is considered doubtful for Monday night’s Game 4.
“It kind of takes some pressure off Steph and his rehab in a way where he’s not like, ‘Shoot, we’re down 2-0, or it’s 1-1, I need to come back and play,’” center Andrew Bogut said. “It buys us a little bit more time if anything.”
Curry returned from an ankle injury only to injure his knee April 24 when he slipped on a wet spot just before halftime of a Game 4 win at Houston in the first round of the playoffs. He sustained a Grade 1 sprain to the MCL in his knee.
“For Steph, he has to think about his future. He has to think about his rhythm. When I say future, I’m talking about beyond this year,” Kerr said. “How long will it take him to feel 100 percent? While he’s going through that, what’s his body going to feel like? And we have to think about what’s he going to look like, what’s he going to do to our rotation? Ironically enough, you don’t think about that usually with the MVP. But it’s the playoffs, it’s the highest level of basketball on earth. Throw a guy out there at 75 percent, it changes everything. So there’s all kinds of factors here and dynamics. The great thing with Steph, he’s smart, he’s easy to talk to and reason with.”
While the Warriors miss his league-leading 30.1 points per game, remarkable range and playmaking ability, they have dominated without their superstar point guard despite needing a fourth-quarter rally in Tuesday’s Game 2 at Oracle Arena.
Trail Blazers coach Terry Stotts was still skeptical.
“We’ll see if he doesn’t play tomorrow,” Stotts said laughing. “We’ll see.”
AP Sports Writer Anne M. Peterson contributed to this report from Portland.