Stephen Curry has been out since October after breaking the second metacarpal in his left hand in an early-season game against the Phoenix Suns. He insisted all season long that he planned to return, with a target date set for March 1 against the Washington Wizards. However, after discussions with the coaches and training staff, it was agreed upon that Curry would get more practice and scrimmaging reps under him before he stepped on an NBA court to play again.
The two-time league MVP spent Monday practicing with the Warriors’ G League affiliate, the Santa Cruz Warriors, prompting the team to announce Curry is on schedule to return later in March. It appears that date might be this week as Warriors coach Steve Kerr told reporters that while Curry has been ruled out Tuesday against the Nuggets, the Thursday night matchup against the Raptors is more likely. There hasn’t been anything official yet, and the team will track Curry’s progress between now and then to determine if he’s ready to go, but a return appears imminent for the three-time champion. Curry’s practice with the Santa Cruz Warriors went well, and Kerr echoed the sentiment that his star point guard could return this week.
“Thursday’s definitely a possibility,” Kerr told reporters Tuesday afternoon. “We’ll get together tomorrow with Steph — he’s getting more work in today — and I think tomorrow we’ll get together and determine what the next step is.”
Curry’s been pushing to get on the court to play, and Kerr told reporters that when it was decided that he would not play on Sunday, the two-time league MVP wasn’t excited with the decision initially.
“He was not thrilled, but Steph is always very rational and easy to speak with,” Kerr told reporters. “He put up a little bit of a fight, but also understood why we wanted to take extra precaution so he’s OK with it.”
While the team said that Curry’s been making solid progress toward his return, and he’s participating fully in scrimmages, the franchise reportedly wanted him to have more practice time under his belt before he returned to the court, per The Athletic’s Shams Charania. So, they assigned him to the Santa Cruz Warriors where he scrimmaged with the team on Monday. The Warriors then recalled Curry from his short-lived G League stint a few hours later after getting in a full practice with the team.
While March 1 was the target date that Curry publicly set for himself, the back and forth around his return shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise, as Kerr told reporters last week that he didn’t believe Curry had done enough scrimmaging to be ready to return.
“He’s only scrimmaged twice,” Kerr said. “In fact, I think he needs more. We’ll see how it all plays out. … Nothing’s official. He’ll play when he’s ready.”
“That [Sunday return] date has been something that’s for sure on Steph’s mind,” Kerr continued. “That’s when he wants to play, and he will when we all feel he’s ready to go. I think he needs some more scrimmage time. We don’t have much of an opportunity to do that given all of the games.”
Golden State’s season, which was already on thin ice even with a healthy Curry, was fully derailed after his injury. At 13-48, the Warriors have the NBA’s worst record by four games and are a virtual lock to own the odds for one of the top three picks in May’s NBA Draft Lottery.
The team Curry is joining is quite different from the one he played with early in the season. A number of the players he played with before getting hurt, including D’Angelo Russell, Glenn Robinson III, Alec Burks and Jacob Evans have been traded. Russell’s move, in particular, was the most important, bringing in former No. 1 overall pick Andrew Wiggins to serve as a running mate for Curry moving forward. His integration into Golden State’s system has so far been an unbridled success. He’s averaging 19.9 points per game as a Warrior, but fitting in alongside Curry will be his next test.
Next season, the Warriors hope to return to championship contention with a healthy Curry and Klay Thompson joining Wiggins and Draymond Green on a revamped roster. As LeBron James has proven this season, a year off after an extended streak of Finals appearances can do quite a bit of good, but rest is no substitute for health. The Warriors need Curry back at full strength if they hope to re-enter the championship picture, and his return this season will be a major step in getting him there.
Courtesy: CBS Sports