Stephen Curry is taking all the appropriate steps to return to the court as soon as possible. That, Warriors head coach Steve Kerr insists, is exactly why he will not play on Christmas against the Cleveland Cavaliers in a rematch of last year’s NBA Finals.
“The guy hasn’t even had a 3-on-3 game, right?” Kerr told reporters on Saturday. “So if we weren’t playing Cleveland on Christmas and I told you Steph hasn’t played in a 3-on-3 game, hasn’t had any contact at all and the game is 48 hours from now, you’d say, ‘oh, Steph’s not going to play. But because of the magnitude of the game, everybody wants to know. But we can’t let that affect our judgement. He can’t play. That would be completely irresponsible if he did.”
There’s also the fact that the Warriors have yet to lose during Curry’s absence. The defending champs sport a pristine 7-0 record while he has been recovering from a sprained right ankle, though only one of those wins came against a team that currently sports a winning record (Detroit). Kevin Durant has been dominant during the Curry-less stretch, averaging 32.3 points, 9.6 rebounds, 6.6 assists and 3.0 blocks per contest over the last seven games.
As for Curry, the Warriors seem content to let him return when — and only when — he is absolutely ready.
“I’ve been really encouraged by his workouts,” Kerr said. “Moving well. Looks like he’s gaining confidence.