SAN FRANCISCO — Golden State Warriors superstar Stephen Curry participated in the team’s scrimmage Thursday, marking another benchmark in his return from a left foot strain and leaving the team “optimistic” he will be available for Game 1 of its first-round playoff series against the Denver Nuggets on Saturday.
Curry, out since March 16 with the injury, will be reevaluated Friday before a final decision is made on his status.
Following Thursday’s scrimmage, and the additional individual work after it, Curry said there is still some discomfort in his foot but that he doesn’t need to be 100% to play.
“You get cleared to play, at that point there’s no time to really worry about that,” he said. “Are you going to help the team win? Are you going to make an impact and do what you do? If I feel like the answer is yes, I’m going to play.”
There isn’t a fear that his foot will worsen by playing, but the team is trying to manage Curry so nothing lingers.
Curry played three six-minute stretches in Thursday’s scrimmage, a mark from which Warriors coach Steve Kerr takes a lot of encouragement.
“A lot of guys, they’ll scrimmage after being out a month, they would get winded after two minutes,” Kerr said. “Steph is in such great shape, he has such an incredible foundation in conditioning, and he’s able to maintain his wind even during his absences.
“His conditioning looks good. I’d be more concerned about timing. Anytime you have an absence, you gotta shake off some cobwebs. Just going to take it a day at a time and see how it all goes.”
Curry’s ramp-up period has been quick. For the first two-and-a-half weeks following the injury, he was in a boot and couldn’t do any work on his feet. From there, he immediately started pushing himself to go 75% during individual workouts. After a week of solo work, Curry got in one team practice before Thursday’s scrimmage.
“You take the boot off, get back out on the floor and you have to be conscious of how much pounding you put on it, because the healing process was on the front end, and then it’s just catching up to get ready to play, “he said.
Despite his conditioning, Curry will be on a yet-to-be specified minutes restriction when he returns. Those decisions — which include posing the question of if he will start or come off the bench — will take place Friday.
As far as Curry is concerned, if he’s given the green light to play Saturday, he’ll start. As far as the rotational minutes that go along with the minutes restriction, setting Curry up to be available in the fourth quarter and late-game scenarios, Curry isn’t sure.
“I’m not worried about it being a limiting factor in terms of how I will approach the game,” Curry said. “Hopefully there’s a little wiggle room to see how I feel out there.”
“Everything has been positive in terms of getting back out there and understanding I’ll be ready to play whenever that time is. I’m hoping it’s Saturday. I’ll try to be the best version I can be having missing a little bit of time … I have high confidence I can go out there and help our team win.”