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Stephen Curry optimistic about returning for Game 1

Stephen Curry optimistic about returning for Game 1

Stephen Curry threw down a two-handed slam dunk during practice and the Golden State star is optimistic about his chances of being on the court again for the Warriors in their playoff opener Saturday against Denver.

Curry took a key step in his recovery from a sprained ligament in his left foot when he scrimmaged Thursday. If he plays in Game 1, “for sure I'll start,” Curry said.

“I’ve never enjoyed practice so much,” Curry said after an extensive, hours-long workout. “... I see the light at the end of the tunnel.”

The two-time MVP participated in three six-minute stretches in full team scrimmaging work then his full individual shooting routine, too. Game 2 in the best-of-seven series is scheduled for Monday.

Coach Steve Kerr also is hopeful of having Curry in the opener against the Nuggets at Chase Center. Curry's foot is still tender four weeks later and he also dealt with a bone bruise that had him in a walking boot for nearly three weeks.

“There’s a confidence that the whole team gets when Steph is playing,” Kerr said. “And then I think there’s a confidence that comes with the continuity and familiarity of groups that have been together and been through a lot of experience, playoff experiences together.”

It would be the first time all season the Warriors’ four postseason veterans are healthy and available — Curry, Draymond Green, Andre Iguodala and Klay Thompson.

“Steph looked like himself. He just gives everybody a lift, just his presence on the court,” Thompson said. “Great to have him out there.”

The 34-year-old Curry was injured March 16 at home against Boston and Golden State went 6-6 without him, though the Warriors found their rhythm and won the final five regular-season games.

Curry is confident he can help the Warriors win even if he's not quite at full strength. His rehab mantra has been: “positive and patient.” His conditioning gives him the trust that he won't be a step slow or winded after a few minutes.

“When you’re dealing with an injury you want to make sure you’re over the limiting factors of how you move, what the pain is like and all that, then you worry about where you are conditioning wise and rhythm wise and figure out how much is left to get to 100 percent," he said. "Everything’s just been positive in terms of getting back out there and understanding I’ll be ready to play whenever that time is, I’m hoping it’s Saturday.”

He can lean on his experience working back from ankle and tailbone injuries in recent seasons — and Curry has long shown a knack for being able to come back from injuries and immediately return to dominant form.

“It’s just who he is on a human level, it’s the wealth of expertise and confidence built over time,” Kerr said.

___

More AP NBA: https://apnews.com/hub/NBA and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

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