OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Just as the Golden State Warriors had hoped, Stephen Curry is poised to return from a left knee injury to play in Game 2 of the Western Conference semifinals Tuesday night against New Orleans.
Coach Steve Kerr listed the two-time MVP as probable Monday with the idea that he’s a go to play as long as no issues arise with Curry’s sprained left knee in the morning shootaround or before the game. Kerr didn’t say whether Curry would start or come off the bench but he won’t have a minutes restriction.
“He’ll want to get his legs underneath him,” Kerr said after practice. “So we’ll try to find that balance between being cautious and letting him go a little bit.”
Golden State leads the best-of-seven series 1-0 after a 123-101 rout in the opener Saturday.
Curry has a history of returning to the court from injury and finding his groove immediately.
“I expect him to be who he is,” Kevin Durant said Monday. “I’m not saying it’s guaranteed to happen. But he puts in the work and prepares himself right when he’s put in that position, so when he comes out and he plays well it’s not a surprise to me at all.”
Curry participated in his first full-contact practice in more than a month last Thursday and then scrimmaged Friday 5-on-5. On Sunday, Curry scrimmaged with some of the reserves before the Warriors brass and medical staff determined he is ready for game action again.
“Right from that window up there I had one eye on the game tape and one eye on Steph. I had a good vantage point,” Kerr said. “He came out of it good. I talked to him afterward and he came out well. Feeling good today, went through the whole practice, so I’d be very surprised if he didn’t play. But just for caution issue, we’ll wait `til tomorrow to see how he’s feeling.”
Curry was injured March 23 in the same game where he had come back from a six-game absence with a right ankle injury.
“He needs rhythm,” Kerr said. “The only factor in terms of allowing him to play is health, and he’s ready to go. He’s been cleared. Now it’s a question of rhythm and how much time we give him, and that’s important. He needs to get his groove back.”
Curry also missed 11 games in December with a sprained right ankle.
He played in only 51 of 82 regular-season games for the defending champions.
“It’s been interesting. Obviously when I’m out there I’ve been playing well, playing at a very high level, we’ve been winning” Curry said. “You have some kind of unfortunate situations, landing on somebody’s foot, being in the wrong place at the wrong time, whatever the case is, missing games. The back of my mind I know I’m still durable, I’m still a player that’s expected to be out there every single night helping my team win. And that confidence in myself has never wavered.”