The Golden State Warriors will enter Game 4 of their second round series against the Portland Trail Blazers with a 2-1 lead, but the face of this series could change significantly tonight.
After missing all but 38 minutes of the Warriors' playoff run so far, Stephen Curry is expected to return to action tonight after recovering from the Grade 1 MCL sprain suffered in Houston during Game 4 of the first round.
Update: Stephen Curry is on tonight's Active List and is available to play.— WarriorsPR (@WarriorsPR) May 10, 2016
Kerr on Stephen Curry: "He's not really under a minutes restriction from training staff... It's more what he can handle conditioning-wise."— Ben Golliver (@BenGolliver) May 10, 2016
Kerr says Curry won't be on minutes restriction but he imagines he will have to play in shorter spurts because of conditioning— Jason Quick (@jwquick) May 10, 2016
Steph Curry leaves court to applause. Made a lot of shots.— Rosalyn Gold-Onwude (@ROSGO21) May 10, 2016
Stephen Curry just ran by me, winked and said: "I'm good."— Marcus Thompson (@ThompsonScribe) May 10, 2016
Stephen Curry just left warm-up. Moved very well. Shot well. Likely coming off bench for #Warriors vs #Blazers. pic.twitter.com/D0EZxaFGcT— Marc J. Spears (@MarcJSpearsESPN) May 10, 2016
Today marks exactly two weeks since he was diagnosed with the MCL injury, meaning he pretty much progressed as one might reasonably expect.
Despite being cleared to return, CSN's Monte Poole reported earlier today that Warriors coach Steve Kerr said that Curry's minutes could be limited due to conditioning.
Asked if Curry would start upon returning, Kerr danced around the subject, which opens the door, ever so slightly, to the possibility of Curry coming off the bench.
"When he plays, whether it's tonight or Wednesday (Game 5)," Kerr said, "I don't imagine him playing his usual minutes."
The big question now that Curry has been cleared to play by the medical staff is how rusty he'll be in addition to whether his conditioning is up to speed, as described by Kerr.
But just having him on the court makes a difference in terms of spacing, even if he's not hitting 12 threes and running game-winners from 38 feet.
Is Stephen Curry rusty? It took him 5 shots from the center court logo to hit one, so you be the judge.— Fast Break (@GSWFastBreak) May 10, 2016