San Francisco, United States—Golden State star Stephen Curry took part in his first full-contact practice since breaking his left hand in October on Saturday (Sunday Philippine time) and is targeting a March 1 NBA return.
“He got an ovation today when I told the group he was going to scrimmage with us,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr told reporters. “Everyone was excited. It’ll be good for our young guys to feel what it’s like to play with him, and vice-versa.”
Curry, 31, required surgery after breaking a bone in his left hand on October 30 in a game against the Phoenix Suns.
Although his return date is not certain, he has indicated he’s aiming for the Warriors’ March 1 game against the Washington Wizards.
Meanwhile, Brooklyn Nets star Kyrie Irving will have surgery on his right shoulder and miss the remainder of the NBA season.
Point guard Irving tried to play through a shoulder impingement first diagnosed in November, but eventually missed 26 games.
In hoping to avoid surgery he received a cortisone injection on December 24 that allowed him to return to action on January 12.
He played in nine games before spraining his right knee in a game against the Washington Wizards on February 1.
Speaking to reporters on February 4 he said he would consider surgery if his shoulder continued to trouble him.
Irving was averaging 27.4 points, 5.2 rebounds and 6.4 assists per game this season.
At 25-28 the Nets are seventh in the Eastern Conference, two games ahead of the Orlando Magic occupying the eighth and final playoff spot.
Curry said he has nerve damage in his non-shooting hand that could affect his play.
“I’m getting used to what the new normal is,” Curry said. “It definitely feels different than the right, but you can try to get it to the point where when you’re actually playing basketball, you don’t think about it.”
Curry averaged 20.3 points, 6.5 assists and 5.0 rebounds in four games before the injury.
The Warriors have reached the past five NBA Finals, taking titles in 2015, 2017 and 2018 before losing to Toronto in last year’s championship series.
But without Kevin Durant, who left for Brooklyn after suffering a torn Achilles tendon in last year’s NBA Finals that has sidelined for this season, and injured star guards Curry and Klay Thompson, the Warriors are currently last in the Western Conference.
A return for Curry would give him time to play alongside new teammates like recently acquired Andrew Wiggins as the Warriors try to build momentum heading into next season.
“A big part of the final third of the season is everyone playing together, acclimating together,” Kerr said. “The trade for Andrew, the young guys, Steph coming back, these games matter.”