Thursday, June 21, 2012
Stephen Curry eyes August return
By Jared Zwerling
Special to ESPNNewYork.com
NEW YORK -- Golden State Warriors point guard Stephen Curry, who had surgery on his troublesome right ankle in April to clean out loose debris and scar tissue, told ESPNNewYork.com on Wednesday that he's eyeing a return to the court in August.
"I hope to be cleared in August sometime to resume full workouts," he said at a launch event for the upcoming Samsung Galaxy S III smartphone. "And then after that, it's just getting back into shape, skill work and that kind of stuff to get ready. So I'll have two months to get ready for training camp, and then I hope to have a normal year."
This is Curry's second straight offseason dealing with right ankle recovery. Last year in May, he had surgery to repair instability in the area because of several sprains that had caused him to miss eight games and limp through a handful of others. This summer, however, he said it's more of a structured therapy regimen, in which he's undergoing rehab every day and has different physical goals.
"It's just a formulated plan of what I need to do on a day-to-day basis from now until Aug. 1, and then from Aug. 1 to October, when training camp starts," he said. "I have different checkpoints I need to beat and different tests I need to clear. Last year was just more of a feeling. I got through the surgery part of it and I was just like, 'Let's go play.' This is more of a formulated approach."
Curry said he especially wants to take things slow because he doesn't want a repeat of this past season, in which he missed 40 games and averaged only 14.7 points and 5.3 assists, both career lows. He said he felt the heat of the condensed schedule; since there weren't so many games, he wanted to play in as many as he could. But he said that made him return too quickly from a right ankle sprain midway through the season and eventually forced him to shut it down on March 13.
"If you missed two weeks this year, you probably missed double the games than you would in a normal season. So you felt pressure to get back, and it kind of messed with you a little bit," Curry said. "Mentally, it was probably the toughest year for me, not really being able to get a rhythm, not playing consistent games. I think I missed more than half of the year. Going into the offseason, I'm just being patient to make sure this is the last thing I have to worry about, ankle trouble. I'm taking my rehab serious with the routine I have, with the guys that are working on me. I'm in a good place right now. I just have a couple more months to get right before training camp."
When Curry does return -- he expects to be fully healthy come training camp -- he is excited about one thing: stability. He's already had two previous coaches in Golden State (Don Nelson and Keith Smart), but Mark Jackson will be back next season. Curry said that will make his continued development at starting point guard easier.
"It's been tough," he said. "As a point guard, mostly what I do is based on the offensive playbooks and things like that, so each year I came in with a new philosophy. This is the first year I know I have the same coaching staff. It's about learning the offense, being vocal on the floor to be able to tell people where to be and be that voice on the floor -- the coach's extension -- and being comfortable with what Coach wants. That's probably the biggest thing. Skill work and all that good stuff comes from secondary stuff."
Curry's goal is to get recognized soon as one of the top point guards in the NBA, and he's hopeful a healthy season will enable him to do that.
"It's the toughest position on a night-to-night basis," he said. "You have Russell Westbrook, Mario Chalmers, Steve Nash, Chris Paul, Tony Parker -- I can go on and on. You've got to be on your game every night or you'll get exposed. You can have fun with it that way, too. When you know you're playing well, you're really doing something. You're playing obviously with 30 of the best point guards in the world. You've got to be on your game."
Jared Zwerling is a regular contributor to ESPNNewYork.com.