OAKLAND, Calif. --Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr has clarified his stance on the playing status of Stephen Curry for Game 3, noting the star guard remains unlikely to suit up Saturday against the Portland Trail Blazers after saying earlier Friday in a radio interview that the reigning MVP had been formally ruled out.
News regarding Curry was nevertheless optimistic Friday, as he returned to practice to test his sprained knee.
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.
He looked much like his healthy self except for a brace covering the knee, and he was strong in his lateral movement, though the team didn't scrimmage at all.
"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 3-on-3, a 5-on-5. I don't think that will happen by tomorrow at 5:30 Portland time. ... I don't see him playing tomorrow."
Earlier Friday, Kerr told The Dan Patrick Show that Curry would not play in Game 3 of the teams' Western Conference semifinal series in Portland. Speaking with reporters after practice, he admitted later that he should have been clearer that he meant "probably" out.
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 even 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."
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.
Stephen Curry impresses in practice, still unlikely for Game 3
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