SAN FRANCISCO -- Steph Curry, the Warriors' crown jewel, walked onto a makeshift podium in the bowels of Chase Center under unusual circumstances Monday night.
Sporting a metal cast, the guard -- who broke his left-hand two weeks ago -- assured that he'd be back in Golden State's lineup by "early spring."
What wasn't said was easily understood. Curry and fellow Splash Brother Klay Thompson (left ACL rehabilitation) are both out until at least February, and the two-time MVP's presence at the podium was the latest reminder that these Warriors -- clad with youth and inexperience -- are playing in a time of transition rather than one defined by championship aspirations.
The revelation initially came four months ago when Kevin Durant tore his Achilles tendon in Game 5 of the NBA Finals before signing with the Brooklyn Nets in free agency. It was confirmed when Thompson tore his ACL a game later. The Warriors' truth was put off temporarily when they acquired D'Angelo Russell, Willie Cauley Stein and Alec Burks this offseason to build around a roster of unproven talent.
In the last 10 days, five players have missed games due to injury, including Thompson and Curry. Additionally, Draymond Green didn't travel with the team on the current road trip to treat a torn ligament in his left index finger. Of the nine active players in Wednesday night's loss to the Houston Rockets, just seven were on guaranteed contracts.
Entering Monday, the Warriors -- four months removed from winning the Western Conference title -- were tied for the NBA's worst record.
"It's tough to see guys go down," Curry admitted Monday. "I don't know if its any more than years past or the types of injuries and all that type of stuff. It's tough but it is a part of the game and I think at some point everybody goes through a little something, whether its short-term or long-term injury, but for the most part you just try to keep your head up and be as positive as you can."
Fortunately for the Warriors, there have been some positive signs this season.
On Nov. 2, Golden State held the Charlotte Hornets -- the league's best 3-point shooting team -- to just 17.2 percent from beyond the arc and took a brief lead with just over a minute left in regulation. A week ago, the Warriors beat the Portland Trail Blazers, limiting guard CJ McCollum to just 37 percent from the field. Over a three-game stretch, rookie Eric Paschall is averaging 26.0 points and 7.7 rebounds per game while shooting 51 percent from the field.
"I love the fight," Curry said. "You're not going to just sit and be okay with losing and whatever the narrative is, they're out there fighting every single night and if you keep the right mentality and perspective, it's the best thing in the world for a rookie to come in and for a young player to come in and have this opportunity to just play every night and get thrown into the fire."
This season is new territory for Curry and the Warriors. Over his first five seasons in Golden State, coach Steve Kerr won 78 percent of his games, overseeing one of the best runs in NBA history and winning three titles. During that time, Curry played in 87 percent of the Warriors' regular-season games.
Even when Curry and Thompson return, the team will be prioritizing development over championship aspirations. With the team currently pressed against the hard cap, there are little answers to improve the roster until next summer.
"I can't stand losing," Warriors coach Steve Kerr admitted last week. "I'm also a realist and I understand the job at hand. Organizationally, we're trying to bring this young group ahead, forward, so that we can really build the depth of our roster and we know eventually Steph and Klay and Draymond are gonna be back."
As he closed his presser, Curry was reminded of a tweet he sent 10 years ago, promising he'd "figure things out" with the then-cellar-dwelling Warriors. Now, after an expected transition year, he'll be expected to deliver once more.
"It's been a great journey," Curry said. "It's not over yet."