OAKLAND -- Ninety minutes after Warriors coach Steve Kerr said Stephen Curry will miss the first round of the playoffs, Curry limped into the interview room wearing bright blue over-the-calf socks and matching shower shoes, smiling before taking a seat.
Not much else he can do, under the circumstances.
Curry has missed 21 games this season and will add 10 more absences before the regular season concludes April 10. He has endured bruises to a hand and to a thigh, injuries to an ankle and now a Grade 2 MCL sprain of his right knee that will cause him to miss a part of the playoffs.
“Mentally, for me, it’s about staying positive and staying upbeat,” Curry said late Sunday afternoon. “Hopefully, I can prove what coach said is wrong and put myself in position to get back as soon as possible.
“But right now, who knows? Just try to do my job in the rehab process and get back as soon as I can.”
Curry had missed six games before returning Friday and sustaining the knee injury in the third quarter against the Hawks. He has good idea of what’s ahead in terms of rehab, as in the 2016 playoffs he incurred a less severe (Grade 1) sprain of his right knee and missed two weeks.
The Warriors are saying he’s likely to miss at five weeks this time, which puts his return right around the time the Western Conference semifinals begin, as early as April 28 but as late as May 1.
“There’s a blessing in all of this and hopefully there’s a story in all of this,” Curry said. “At the end of the day, I’ll have an opportunity to get back on the court, hopefully, before our season is over with, and do what I can to help our team win a championship. That’s all I’m focused on now. It’s just going to take a different shape than I expected going into this season, let alone going into this last stretch of the year.”
Curry had hoped to use the final three weeks of the regular season to tune up for the postseason, which is how this Warriors team will be measured. That all changed when JaVale McGee fell backward into Curry’s legs, resulting in the sprain.
“In basketball, and in sports in general, you can’t control everything,” Curry said. “Accidents happen. I’m not going to let it be a defeating situation. I’m going to treat it with a sense of humor. It’s a tough turn of events, but I’ll have an opportunity to play in games that matter in the playoffs. And that’s really the focus.”
Curry joins fellow All-Star teammates Kevin Durant, Draymond Green and Klay Thompson on the sideline. Green is expected back on Tuesday. Durant is scheduled to return this week, maybe as early as Tuesday. Thompson remains at least one week away.
“We’re all going through individual things,” Curry said. “But I don’t think any of this is going to shake us from our ultimate goal of winning a championship. At that point, we’ll look back on all these kinds of incidents and laugh about them.”