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Warriors at Blazers NBA Playoffs preview: Stephen Curry 'doubtful' for Game 4, but could be back soon

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The Warriors will face the Blazers tonight with Stephen Curry still on the path to full recovery from his knee injury.

Steve Dykes/Getty Images
Matchup
Golden State Warriors
2-1 (0-1 ROAD)
vs
Portland Trail Blazers
1-2 (1-0 HOME)
Details
May 9, 2016
Moda Center — Portland, OR
7:30 p.m. PST
TNT | KGO 810 AM
Blog Buddy: Blazer's Edge
Projected Starters
Shaun Livingston G Damian Lillard
Klay Thompson G C.J. McCollum
Harrison Barnes F Maurice Harkless
Draymond Green F Al-Farouq Aminu
Andrew Bogut C Mason Plumlee
Key Injuries
Stephen Curry (knee) - Doubtful
Meyers Leonard (shoulder) - Out

★★★

It is somewhat surprising that so many people are discussing whether the Golden State Warriors should play Stephen Curry in Game 4 against the Portland Trail Blazers because it's not as though the coaching staff is arbitrarily holding him out — at this point, he hasn't been medically cleared to play.

As anyone who has watched the Warriors closely this season knows, they have a pretty routine protocol for determining whether a player is ready to return to action. They have shown no signs this season of panicking in the face of injury, even when the stakes appear to be higher than average.

There is nothing about the way Warriors coach Steve Kerr has managed the team thus far during this season that suggests he'd suddenly panic now or — even sillier — playing games for the sake of keeping the Blazers guessing.

Marcus Thompson II of the Bay Area News Group put things in context best in an article yesterday with the headline, "Warriors' wait for Stephen Curry nearly over."

The behind-the-scenes talk after he practiced Sunday was that he looked good.

Good enough to play Game 4? That will be decided after shootaround on Monday. It's in the discussion, though, because Curry's strides are breaking down the Warriors' hypercaution.

If not Game 4, he's almost sure to play in Game 5 on Wednesday...He will be rusty. He will be on a minutes limit. But he will be back. Soon...Sunday, those watching him seemed to be trying to temper their excitement. The last hurdle is making sure his knee is fine Monday morning, after working it harder on Sunday, and if his conditioning is to a point he can handle playoff action.

Curry will come back in due time and his absence looms large over this series, particularly because of the way Damian Lillard is scoring — as Thompson wrote, "This series is calling for Curry. And you know he hears it."

Maybe we'll find out this morning that he's ready to come back after Curry goes through shootaround. For now, he's doubtful and the Warriors will have to continue to compete without him.

And in a way, that offers a chance for redemption after catching a beat down in Game 3.

More than anything, the Warriors just seemed to lack the focus or effort that they'd shown thus far without Curry.

Dwight Jaynes of CSN NW reported that a major point of emphasis for Game 4 will be on the defensive end, keying in on Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum.

There was no question that a point of emphasis by the Warrior coaches and players Sunday was that they did not make Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum work hard enough on defense Saturday. The plan is to run them ragged on defense so by the fourth quarter, their legs are gone. They believe that's what happened with Lillard in Game 2.

There's no question that this team is not at their 73-win best without Curry on the floor. But as Kerr and the players have been saying since Game 3, they're still better than what they showed in Game 3 on both ends of the ball. I'm looking forward to seeing them prove that on the court tonight.