The Golden State Warriors will kick off the first round of their playoffs Saturday when they take on San Antonio Spurs in game one, but will be without Stephen Curry for the entire seven-game series.
The Warriors point guard suffered a grade two MCL sprain on his left knee March 23 and it was just two days later that coach Steve Kerr revealed he will miss the first round of the playoffs.
It was a major setback for the reigning champions as the game against the Indiana Pacers, when he suffered the knee injury, was his first in six games following his return from an ankle injury. The Warriors have struggled in his absence going 7-10 in their final 17 games, and they also suffered their biggest defeat of the regular season in their final game going down 119-79 to the Utah Jazz.
Curry recently denied claims about suffering a setback and revealed he was in rehabilitation with regards to his injury recovery process, but Kerr confirmed Thursday his star point guard was nowhere close to making a return to the court.
âHeâs not practicing yet or anything,â Kerr said Thursday during his weekly appearance on KNBR Radio. âI think three weeks (from his injury) is Saturday. I think thatâs when we said the doctors would re-evaluate him. He isnât anywhere close to playing, I can say that.â
Curry is expected to have his three-week evaluation Saturday after which the team is likely to confirm a timeline for the guardâs return. According to Yahooâs Shams Charania, the two-time MVP is reportedly targeting a return sometime during the Western Conference semi-finals, that is if the Warriors make it out of the first round against the Spurs.
âWarriors star Stephen Curry (sprained MCL) is targeting expected return at some point in the Western Conference semifinals, league sources told Yahoo. Curry has three-week evaluation on Saturday,â Charania wrote on his official Twitter account on Friday.
Meanwhile, coach Kerr rallied his troops ahead of their first playoff game Saturday and made it clear their only target for the post-season is to hang another championship banner at the Oracle Arena.
They did not end their regular season with aplomb and the coach admitted his team had lost their competitive edge following their final game against the Jazz, but was hoping the break before the start of the playoffs will reignite their desire to get back to winning ways.
âWe are going into the playoffs with the idea that weâre going to accept every challenge and going for it. Our intention is to hang another banner,â Warriors coach Kerr said, as quoted on nba.com. âThatâs our goal. Thatâs what we think is going to happen. Iâm confident in that.â