Regarding the return of Stephen Curry, the Warriors are proceeding exactly as they should.
They’re ignoring Curry’s wishes and listening to the experts.
So the two-time MVP will be a spectator Thursday in Toronto and return to the floor Saturday, when the Warriors face the Pistons at Little Caesars Arena in Detroit.
Though this douses much of the flame attached to the Warriors-Raptors game Thursday, it’s entirely sensible. The Warriors know better than any team in today’s NBA that one game in November, no matter how spicy the matchup, doesn’t register a blip on the only that scale that matters, the one that measures postseason magnitude and consequence.
“He’s looked great the last several days, scrimmaging, shooting the ball, his movement,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr told reporters at Scotiabank Arena in Toronto. “To me he looks like he’s ready to go. That’s the great news.
“If this were playoff game, he would absolutely be playing. But it’s November.”
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Curry, who has been out since sustaining a groin strain on Nov. 8, is eager to play. He participated in a scrimmage on Monday, practiced on Tuesday in Oakland and went through light drills again Wednesday upon arriving in Toronto.
There are a number of reasons behind Curry’s deep desire to play Thursday. It’s Toronto, where he spent a portion of his childhood when his father, Dell, was a member of the Raptors. That the Raptors sit atop the Eastern Conference and own the best record (18-4) in the NBA is alluring. Moreover, he feels he is ready.
But Rick Celebrini, the team’s director of sports medicine and performance, is holding up the red light.
“We obviously have a lot of smart people that are taking care of us and trying to make sure that we’re protected from ourselves in certain situations,” Curry said. “It’s been three weeks or so, so I’m itching to get back.”
Curry says is he “symptom-free,” that the rush of excitement he has felt the past few days – certainly Wednesday when team boarded a flight to Toronto – is contributed to his disappointment at sitting out another game.
“You feel like you know how your body feels and you wake up and get excited thinking maybe you’re a little further along than you are,” he said. “When you get that close, every game that you have to wait, it’s tough.”
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Nine times out of 10, the athlete is the last person who should determine when it’s time to resume action. Nearly always, they want to play before they should. That’s definitely true in the case of Curry, who is nothing if not a basketball junkie.
The Warriors don’t care what he thinks. Maybe if he becomes a physician they’ll listen
“We’re never going to look back and go, ‘Man, I wish we had played him on Toronto,’” Warriors coach Steve Kerr told reporters in Toronto. “But the opposite would definitely be true. We could look back and say, ‘What were we thinking? Why didn’t we give him another couple days.’
“So caution is the word of the day.”
The game on Thursday is one of 82, as is the game on Saturday. There are no bonus points awarded based on the status of the teams. Not until the second season.
So Detroit it is, as it should be.