OAKLAND – Stephen Curry’s desire to return to the playoffs ahead of schedule looks much less likely, as he was declared out of Game 3 of the Warriors-Trail Blazers Western Conference Semifinals series.
Warriors coach Steve Kerr, who on Thursday expressed pessimism regarding Curry playing on Saturday, closed the door completely on Friday.
“I don’t see him playing tomorrow,” Kerr said after practice.
There were, however, some encouraging signs. Curry was able to join his teammates for defensive work, 5-on-0 drills and full-court shooting for the first time since he was sidelined on April 24.
“He took part in all of it, and he looked much, much better than he did even two days ago,” Kerr said. “It’s a great sign.
“But we still want to see him in a 3-on-3 or 5-on-5 and I don’t think that’ll happen by tomorrow at 5:30 Portland time.”
Curry shot well in going through most of his usual post-practice session with assistant coach Bruce Fraser, but he did not work up his usual sweat. It has been 12 days since the reigning MVP sustained a sprained medial collateral ligament (MCL) in Game 4 of the first-round series against Houston.
Kerr felt there was noticeable progress over the course of the week – particularly with Curry’s lateral movement – and that was enough to leave open the slight possibility he could return for Game 4 on Monday.
“He just looked like he had bounce to his step,” Kerr said, “whereas in the last week he’s been slowly inching his way forward, moving a little bit quicker each day. But today was the first day I thought he looked like himself.”
The soonest he would be able to scrimmage would be on Sunday, and that would be limited a 3-on-3 sessions. Kerr has been adamant in saying he wants to see Curry go through 3-on-3 and 5-on-5 scrimmages before he takes the court.
After Curry was diagnosed on April 24, Warriors general manager Bob Myers said the point guard would be “reevaluated” in two weeks. That would be Monday. Curry’s goal is to be ready to play by then.
“Whatever we end up doing with him will be through his consultation, with his agreement and we’ll figure it out together,” Kerr said.