SAN FRANCISCO – Golden State Warriors star guard Stephen Curry scored 32 points, handed out six assists and grabbed five rebounds in Monday’s 116-102 victory over the Chicago Bulls, making his return from a Javelin injury all the more pleasing to a Warriors team that has lost four games by forfeit.
He changes everything on the field, Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. The game becomes much easier for the whole team. So that opened up opportunities for us. I think all the players played well, everyone.
I thought everyone followed suit, and that’s the effect Steph is having. This makes the game easier for everyone.
Curry left the game on March 17. after tripping over several risers and falling hard on his tailbone in a 108-94 victory over the Houston Rockets. The Warriors initially hoped Curry’s injury would prevent a return within days, but an MRI exam revealed inflammation in his tailbone and led to uncertainty about the exact date of his return.
After Sunday’s practice and Monday’s shooting session, Curry felt like he could play. After 30 minutes of play against the Bulls, however, it’s clear that the injury will have to be watched over the next few weeks.
The 33-year-old didn’t seem to have any problems at the start of the game, but after falling hard on his back at the end of the first quarter and falling several more times throughout the game, it became clear that the injury was still bothering him, which he admitted after the win.
I knew it would be interesting, Curry said. You can’t really fake it, so it wasn’t fun, but we got through it. I’ve been able to stay warm, deal with the pain, and play, so that’s something I’ll be dealing with in the near future, but I’ll continue to heal when I have a little more time.
After Kerry left the game, a Warriors staff member approached him several times to put a heater on his tailbone. It took Curry longer than usual to get up, but when he finally did, a staff member brought him a large black pillow to sit on.
The two-time MVP knows this injury will last for a while, and he did his best to stay on his feet and not get carried to the ground like he usually does. When asked what changed the most for him because of his breech, Curry, who was able to turn the game to his advantage in the third quarter, was quick with his answer.
I’m just dealing with the pain, Curry said. Here’s how. Try to turn it off and concentrate on the game. The charge I took was probably …. It was a good game. I was trying to get ready. It’s a situation where you don’t want to question movements or decisions on either side of the floor because you’re trying to avoid pain. Something needs to be done about it, so I’m back with my thoughts.
Curry understood he was needed, especially since the Warriors were 10th in the Western Conference that night and were 1-6 on the season without him. Before Monday’s game, Kerr also noted something that has been evident in the organization for years: Curry’s presence gives the rest of his young squad the confidence they need to fully develop, a belief that was on display all night Monday night.
Steph’s 32, 5 and 6 rust are pretty remarkable, and I don’t think people really understand what he’s done this year after missing an entire season, Warriors guard Kent Bazemore said. You see guys sprain their ankle, miss five games and come back like a shell. He missed 65 games last year, plus a pandemic, and for him to come back and play at this level says a lot. And the fact that he put his body on the line for us today means a lot to this locker room. We owe it to him to go and do what we can.
While the Warriors are happy to have Curry back, his presence is also a source of concern given the complex nature of his injury. The Warriors hope Curry can finally play without pain, but no one knows when the discomfort in his tailbone will subside.
Because it’s a very unorthodox case, Curry said. Moving up like I did won’t happen right away, but I need to be good and keep playing.
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