OAKLAND – Officially, Stephen Curry did not take part in Thursday’s Warriors practice. But he was at the team’s facility in sweatpants and while he was not walking with a noticeable limp, his shot was clearly off.
After practice ended and coach Mark Jackson and guard Jarrett Jack were made available to the media, Curry launched a handful of shots from three-point range. He was clearly being gentle on his sprained right ankle as he didn’t get his normal lift-off on his jump shot. The result was a lot more shots hitting iron than net.
“Still getting treatment and still day-to-day,” Jackson said. “He’ll travel but not sure when he’ll play.”
Curry was also dealing with a knee issue after colliding with the Nuggets’ Kosta Koufos Sunday in Denver, but Jackson said that’s no longer a concern.
“As far as I know, there’s no problem with the knee.”
While that’s a relief for Jackson, the sprain is especially worrisome considering Curry has had surgery on his right ankle in each of the last two offseasons. Both Jackson and Jack used the word ‘freak’ to describe Curry’s injury, which he sustained during Wednesday’s shootaround.
“What took place was a long rebound,” Jackson said. “We have a drill where we chase down rebounds and it was a freak play. Nothing you can do about that.”
With Jackson lacking the services of Curry for an indefinite period of time, Jack, who has provided the Warriors with valuable veteran leadership off the bench in his first season with Golden State, has been thrust into a starting role.
“We brought Jack in here for a reason,” Jackson said. “We’re very confident and comfortable with the ball in his hands and his ability to run this basketball team. Obviously, Steph Curry is a different animal and we need him, and certainly miss him, but Jack is more than capable.”
Jack said he’s not looking to do what Curry did for the Warriors. Instead, he will just continue to play his own style of basketball.
“I think we have two totally different types of games,” Jack said. “I just try and come in, try to set the table, run the show. Steph brings a tremendous dynamic with the way he’s able to shoot the ball and stretch the defense. I’m more of a penetrating guy that can get into the lane. I’m not so much trying to fill his shoes, just trying to play my game and hopefully put us in positions that we can be successful.”
Jack led the Warriors with 16 points in the 92-75 loss to Miami, but also turned the ball over a game-high five times. He blamed it on a lack of focus.
“I got to do a better job of taking care of the basketball,” Jack said. “It tends to start with the point guard. If I’m loose with the ball, then it’s like a domino effect. So if I want us to have a legitimate shot of winning, especially on the road, then I gotta do a better job of taking care of the ball myself, and I think everybody else will follow suit.”
Jackson defended Jack by saying that the turnover issue is team-wide, not individual.
“At the end of the day, with Steph we had been turning the ball over,” Jackson said. “So we just gotta be a little bit smarter, a little bit more careful with handling the basketball and not giving the opposing team extra possessions.”
The Warriors can’t afford to give extra possessions to their next two opponents, the Southwest Division-leading Spurs, a team they haven’t beat since 2008, or the New Orleans Hornets, who have won six of their last seven contests.
“We’re playing against a very good San Antonio Spurs team and a red-hot New Orleans Hornets team so some tough games ahead of us,” Jackson said. “Bottom line is we’ve got to find a way to bounce back from last night.”
Curry’s injury is the latest concern for the Warriors, but center Andrew Bogut continues to deal with his own ankle injury and Jackson is still not ready to provide any estimate on a potential return.
“No timeline as far as Bogut’s concerned,” Jackson said. “We’ll see when he suits up, but no timeline at all. All honesty, he’s going to continue to rehab and continue to progress towards getting on the floor. We’re playing it by ear and being very, very patient.”