CHARLOTTE, N.C. — If it were not for the boot on his right foot and the crutch in his right hand, Warriors guard Stephen Curry appeared normal. He still had a smile on his face. Curry chatted amicably with his father, Dell. Curry said he remained in good spirits.
Surely, Curry might understandably feel frustrated he has become sidelined with a sprained right ankle for at least two weeks, including a hometown appearance when the Warriors (19-6) visit the Charlotte Hornets (9-13) on Wednesday night. He did not show those emotions during the tail end of morning shootaround, though. But even if that itch to play seems inevitable to creep up when he sits on the bench, Curry could actually benefit from doing that instead of sitting on the bench.
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“You have to look at it as a chance to get a couple of weeks away, and get away from the stress of getting ready for games and getting your body ready,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. “So he should take advantage of it.”
He can recharge from any fatigue stemmed from three consecutive NBA Finals appearances. Though he has since figured out how to play with a wrap on his right ring finger, Curry will have more time to let his finger heal without putting pressure on it with a ball in his hands. For someone who likes to follow Kerr’s calling to “fill the cup,” Curry could enjoy more time with his family.
“It’s not even more so physical. It’s the mental part, I think,” Warriors forward Kevin Durant said. “You exhaust your mind. You play on a winning basketball team and you’re trying to win a championship. The mental part of it may be more exhausting than the physical.”
Durant would know from experience after missing 20 regular-season games last season because of a left knee injury. When it happened, the injury seemed debilitating both to Durant and the Warriors. But as the injury left the Warriors motivated to compensate elsewhere, it left Durant recharged.
“Just Steph knowing he doesn’t have to mentally get ready for the game for the next two weeks is going to make his healing process even better,” Durant said. “So he can just focus on that. Also, he can take his mind away from a daily grind of a basketball season as the best point guard in the league. That’s definitely a different mindset you have to have when you’re approaching this. I think it’s going to be great for Steph and great for the rest of the team.”
Durant then paused, realizing the sticker shock that likely awaits for the Warriors losing Curry’s superior shooting, floor spacing and leadership.
“In a weird way obviously,” Durant said, smiling. “We’d love to have Steph back, but unfortunately injuries do happen. We try to look at it as a positive through it all.”
It appears Curry does as well.
“For him to take a couple of weeks off is not the worst thing in the world,” Kerr said. He then paused for dramatic effect. “As long as it’s not too much longer.”