Unfortunately for the NBA, this playoff run may be without the Golden State Warriors very quickly. They have been battling injuries all season, and the most recent one might stretch into their first-round series against the Denver Nuggets. While the Nuggets are an interesting story for NBA-heads, they won’t move the needle much for playoff ratings.
Stephen Curry has been out for nearly an entire month with a sprained ligament and bone bruise in his left foot. The Warriors released a statement today. In it they said Curry is progressing, but only started on-court work last week. Curry could possibly participate in a full practice this week, and his status for Game 1 against the Nuggets is “undetermined” and will be based on his “continued progress.”
Steve Kerr talked to the media today and didn’t elaborate much more on what was in the press release. He did say, however, that the team will be scrimmaging on Thursday, and Curry will not take the floor until he can participate in some time of scrimmage. They begin their series with the Nuggets on Saturday and ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported that one of his sources says it’s a “close call” on whether or not Curry will suit up for Game 1.
The fact that it has gotten to this point means it is likely that Curry will be compromised whenever he comes back. That shouldn’t be a surprise. He’s 34 years old and dealing with a foot injury he suffered less than 30 days ago. If he had been taking part in on-court activities for the last couple of weeks and the goal was to evaluate him during Thursday’s scrimmage, that would be a great sign. But with his status touch and go, the Warriors will not be able to compete, unless somehow through the wear and tear of a playoff run, the foot gets healthier.
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Klay Thompson has just started playing better after returning to the game action in early 2022, after not playing in an NBA basketball game since the 2019 NBA Finals. Draymond Green was well on his way to Defensive Player of the Year, until he got hurt and missed almost 30 games. He returned to the court the game before Curry went down.
The Warriors made some adjustments to their roster during the offseason after a play-in loss last postseason. Jordan Poole has been a revelation in his third season with the Warriors, while Andrew Wiggins’ performance has crashed back to earth following a start in the all-star game. There is talent, but man for man, the Warriors do not have close to the amount of talent on the 64-win Phoenix Suns’ roster. The Warriors will also have some matchup problems with the Memphis Grizzlies, and that is if they can even get past the Nuggets.
While the Nuggets will be depending a little too much on Bones Hyland and Jeff Green, they will still have the best player in the Western Conference, arguably the entire NBA, in Nikola Jokić. He will be a matchup problem for whomever gets the unlucky task of bodying up with him in the paint, or ends up in front of him at the top of the key. Green had better be as healthy as he’s been since December in order to keep Jokić from slicing and dicing the Warriors. He is a playoff vet who will not be intimidated by this core of Warriors that won three championships last decade.
Health is vital for the Warriors to have some success in this postseason. And after finally getting Green back, and Thompson ending the regular season with a 40-point performance, their matchup nightmare is still deep in the process of just trying to get back on the court. Without Curry at full strength they better get ready to use all of the developmental muscle they have to get Kuminga and James Wiseman ready to shoulder a great deal of the load if they want to be championship contenders in 2022-23.