OAKLAND, Calif. — Stephen Curry wanted nothing more than to play on his milestone 30th birthday, a home game against the Lakers on Wednesday night.
The two-time MVP is doing his best to see the big picture and realize health is No. 1 over earning the No. 1 seed. The playoffs are a month away and he plans to be in top form to lead another special Golden State run.
"I've been through this countless times but I feel very confident in the approach that we're taking to get to as close to 100 per cent as possible going into the stretch run of the regular season and then obviously the playoffs," Curry said after his team's shootaround Wednesday. "I would obviously love to be out there playing every game down the stretch, to be out there with my squad. At this point there's enough time. Not just me, we have a bunch of guys banged up, that we all can prioritize health and understand that we need to all be ready to go."
Curry will miss at least the next four games for the ailing defending champions as he heals from his latest right ankle injury, while Splash Brother Klay Thompson also will miss those games and probably two weeks in all, coach Steve Kerr said before Wednesday's game. The Warriors announced that Thompson has a fractured right thumb that will sideline him until he is re-evaluated March 22.
"Disappointed at the news, but encouraged that it is not worse," Kerr said of Thompson's injury. "We are probably looking at a couple of weeks. We will re-evaluate in about a week. I actually look at this, long-term, as a positive. Klay plays every game. I think he's missed 12 games in his entire career. That's crazy — 530 out of (543). ... The guy is a machine, but even without the thumb we were considering giving him a game or two off here down the stretch. He's looked a little more spent recently. I look at this like a positive. I think this will be really productive in the long haul."
After Wednesday's matchup with Los Angeles, they also will miss Friday at home against the Kings, then road games at Phoenix on Saturday and at San Antonio on Monday. Golden State is 11-6 this season without Curry, who missed an 11-game stretch with the ankle in December then injured it again March 2 at Atlanta but was able to play.
"We are trying to build up the strength as best we can around the ankle," Kerr said. "The training staff felt an extra week or 10 days of intense rehabilitation will put him in a much better position to play through the rest of the year with less risk of spraining the ankle again."
Draymond Green was also out Wednesday with soreness in his right shoulder. Backup centre David West was sidelined for a fifth consecutive game with a cyst in his right arm but Kerr said he could return as soon as Friday. Rookie Chris Boucher was up from the G League Warriors for his possible NBA debut yet not in the rotation plans.
It was still hard for Curry to think about missing Wednesday's game.
"Selfishly I was always keying in on tonight just because it was a big day," Curry said. "You only turn 30 once. I have to keep a big-picture perspective. I understand the thought process around not just how my ankle feels today versus next Wednesday versus next Friday, but the things that I need to do rehab-wise to strengthen my core, everything that protects your ankle so that when I do come back I'm ready. Obviously there's risk playing. The reason I hurt my ankle, I landed on somebody's foot twice. You can't help that. I've got to do whatever I can to lower the probability of putting myself in that situation again, especially at this point in the season."
Curry rolled his ankle driving left for a layup at the 9:38 mark of the first quarter in the win against the Spurs. He is scheduled to be re-evaluated next Tuesday.
Golden State did not practice Tuesday as originally planned after the team held an early surprise birthday celebration Monday for Curry, whose wife Ayesha was involved. The couple arrived into San Francisco for the bash — 200-plus people, according to the man of the hour — on a yacht. Coach Steve Kerr was seen dancing on stage with his players in social media videos from the festivities.
"I'm really nosy, too, so the fact that they still were able to execute it is pretty remarkable," Curry said. "I'm definitely thankful for that, all that love."
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