OAKLAND – Another game, another Stephen Curry ankle injury, another uneasy day of waiting for the latest pivotal medical bulletin.
This has become about hours for the Warriors. Not the time that remains in the season – they still have at least Game 4 at Oracle Arena on Sunday and Game 5 back in San Antonio on Tuesday. But the difference between Curry playing, or at least playing with enough movement for a genuine impact, and Golden State taking the court without its best player could come down to the schedule turn of the playoffs.
“It could,” coach Mark Jackson said Saturday, as the Warriors waited. “But nothing we could do about it now. The clock is ticking. One way or another, we’ll be ready for Game 4.”
A Game 4 that will begin at 12:30. A matinee when the extra hours of the usual night tip off, whether 7:30 p.m. on most occasions or 6 on Sundays, could have helped. All with the knowledge that a loss Sunday will put them behind 3-1 to the tested Spurs.
X-rays on the left ankle, after Curry rolled it with about five minutes left in San Antonio’s Game 3, were negative. He is scheduled for constant treatment, did not practice Saturday and will be re-evaluated Sunday.
The good news for the Warriors is that they have been through this and worse before. Curry sprained the same left ankle – not the one that ruined his 2011-12 and eventually required surgery – in Game 2 of the first-round series against the Nuggets, missed a practice and was a game-time decision after that. And then he played 38 minutes and had 29 points, 11 assists against three turnovers, and six rebounds and made four of seven three-pointers. Jackson insisted afterward the talk of Curry possibly sitting out was not a drama play.
“Once again, we’re back to trusting the process, treatment around the clock and seeing how he is tomorrow,” Jackson said. “Unfortunately, we’ve become veterans at this. But he’s a gamer and no matter what, we’re looking forward to tomorrow.”
Curry was not available during the media session Saturday while getting treatment, but he told a pool reporter that the early start is a “little bit” of a concern. “It’s just a shorter turnaround, literally 36 hours from last night. That’s the main concern compared to having three days like I did last time. Just gotta expedite the treatment and stay as consistent as possible.
“If I can give the team anything, I will play. I feel like if I can get to a point where I’m not hobbling and I can cut how I want to. It doesn’t have to be 100 percent, as long as I can be confident that it won’t do any further damage. I have a feeling I’ll be at that point tomorrow, no problem.”
Asked if he thinks he will play, Curry said: “I think so. You never really know how it’s going to feel the next day. You just keep up with the treatment. Same ‘ol story. I have the same answers. I hope it feels good enough to go tomorrow. But until I wake up and see, you just hope for the best right now.”
Tony Parker skipped Spurs practice at about the same time in San Francisco because of a bruised left calf that he said, according to the San Antonio Express News, had swelled to the size of a baseball. The star of Game 3 on Friday with 32 points, including 25 in the first half, said he will play Sunday.