Warriors point guard Stephen Curry is back in town. Thursday, in front of Warriors coach Mark Jackson, general manager Bob Myers, and Hall of Famer Chris Mullin, Curry showed off the progress he’s made on his surgically repaired right ankle.
Afterward, he spoke confidently with the media about his chances to be ready for training camp and the regular season. He also talked about making the playoffs, being a first-time father, the new-look Los Angeles Lakers and signing a contract extension. Here’s the transcript:
How does the ankle feel?
“It feels great. Being out since March and having surgery in April, and my last two-and-half to three months of rehab, it’s been a good process. I’m being patient with it. Right now, being able to do a full-court workout and not having any pain or soreness or tightness — it’s very optimistic right now. We still have five weeks for training camp so it can only get better.”
What are you not able to do?
“Just play five-on-five right now. I’m just making sure that when I’m reacting and making cuts, especially on the defensive end, that my ankle’s responding the right way. I know it will, but just right now I’m taking each step: one-on-one to three-on-three to controlled five-on-five and then going full bore. So, that’s’ the plan right now.”
Are you going to wait to the start of camp to play five-on-5?
“I’ll probably give it a try before, when guys come back before training camp. Training camp is a good time to get your rhythm back and get with the team. But I want to have some kind of playing time before I get into that situation. So that’s a good plan for me to try to go at least a week or two before”
Any concern about not starting the season?
“No. Not at all. None at all. The whole point of having surgery when I did and being patient with my rehab is so that on Oct 31 I’m not having any restrictions or hesitancy of going out and playing.”
Can you give us a rehab timeline from April to now?
“The first three weeks it was immobile. I couldn’t put any weight on it. After that it was trying to get the swelling down for about a week or so. Once you can control the swelling, it’s about getting your range of motion and your strength back. The calf shrinks up. I didn’t have any kind of power coming out of that ankle. So it was just attacking that, my balance and my strength production out of my right ankle. It just depends on how intense you go. From the start it was about 30 minutes of just staying on a balance ball. Now it’s actually doing jumps and landings, side-to-side movements, things like that. So you get pretty intense and you work on your repetitions the farther into rehab you go.”
Is it frustrating to not know why the tweaks have happened the last year or do you have any sense of why they may have happened?
“I have a guess: it’s just not giving it enough time to rest early when I first started having the sprains. Not giving it a couple days, a week, when they are pretty serious sprains and trying to go back and play. That probably didn’t bode well for longevity when it comes to going through the season. With rehab, you’re trying to get it strong. You’re trying to get your balance right. During the season you don’t have that much time. It might feel good, but the power and the strength and the balance isn’t there to get you through those dynamic movements you have to do on the court. That’s probably why it started. Right now, I’m not worried about anything that’s happened in the past. We’ve taken every step to get myself in the right position for training camp this year so I’m not going to worry myself over why I’ve had to endure a tough two years. It’s time to move forward.”
Can you be 100 percent confident that this is in the past or do you need a few months of good health before you can really feel secure?
“That would be good to be in January, February and have played every game and have that confidence and that expectation that I’m 100 percent. But I think having the summer and having the approach that we’re having — taking it step by step by step — once I get into the season, I’m not going to be thinking about my ankle. You can’t really tell what’s going to happen. But I think going into it I will be 100 percent, free and clear of any kind of doubts about my ankle.”
What do you think about the Warriors offseason?
“They did a great job of getting some depth. Top to bottom our roster looks good. We have a lot of veteran guys, some young talent. Adding Jarrett (Jack), Carl Landry, Harrison (Barnes), Draymond (Green), Festus (Ezeli), practice is going to be fun this year. We have some depth at each position to really challenge each other in training camp. On paper, we’re a playoff team so we have to figure out how to turn that into wins in the season and take advantage of the roster that they’ve put together.”
How different is that going to be to actually have practice (as opposed to lockout shortened season with limited practice)?
“It’s going to be great. That’s where good teams get better. Especially a new group of guys like we have. Especially our core guys and our bench. We’re trying to learn the roles that each guy is going to have, challenge each other and compete. With the full 82-game schedule and the full training camp, I think we’re in good shape for coach (Mark) Jackson and the staff to continue to put in the system we want to put in defensively and offensively. It will be a huge benefit for us this year.”
Your thoughts on Don Nelson going to the Hall of Fame?
“Happy for him. I was part of history with him for all-time wins record my rookie year. So to hear his speech and to know his career has gotten him to the Hall of Fame, it’s fun to have been a part of a little bit of that history. I’m just happy for him. I keep in touch with a little bit. He’s excited, so it’s good news.”
What do you remember from the game he set the all-time wins record?
“We were doing some weird dance that we had come up with over the course of the season. He finally started doing it and jumping up and down. It was a weird season that year. But for us to have that goal of getting him that record, it meant a lot for him. Just to see his face and smiles in the locker room. We took a team picture in the locker room with him holding the game ball, us showering him with Powerade and water in the locker room. I look at that picture at my house in Charlotte all the time and it’s a great memory.”
What style of play you think you guys will play?
“I don’t know. We still have some speed. Obviously without Monta, we’re not as dynamic with that approach. With Bogut and D-Lee being able to be such good passing big men on offense, with myself, Klay (Thompson) and Jarrett, we’re going to be able to space and work around Bogut and D-Lee in the post and be able to attack the lanes. We’re going to be a great shooting team. We don’t want to fall in love with that but we know we’re going to be able to do that well. We’ve just got to have a balanced attack of feeding the post and using our size now that we have it. Be able to have threats on the outside. Defensively, we’re going to have to keep working on on-ball defense. The size we have with Bogut, Festus, (Biedrins) anchoring our defense down low, we’ve got to keep them out of foul trouble, keep them on the floor. Continue to be a great help-defense team and communicate on that end.”
Fair to say you have a more traditional lineup?
“Size wise, we match up pretty well with any team in the league. You don’t have the questions of the small backcourt, that kind of stuff, going into the season. We’ve just got to take the roster and work with it.”
How good can you guys be?
“I think really good. You look at the talent that we have, guys who have established themselves around the league and the balanced roster we have, I think we are a playoff team. It’s easy to say that but you’ve got to go out and play and make it happen. But looking at the West, it’s still tough. Some teams have shifted a little bit but it’s still a tough conference to nab one of those playoffs spots. That’s our goal to figure out a way to get in there.”
Is this the first time you felt like you had a team that could win on any given night?
“I guess you can say that. But as players you’re going to go out and think your going to win every game. But knowing we have some size, we have shooting, we have a better defensive unit, all those things should add up to more wins. So you want to do whatever you can, do your part, to make that happen.”
How is being a father?
“Love it, man. Love it. Definitely changes a lot of things. Different pace for me and my wife. It’s definitely a blessing to have her addition to the family. Trying to get some sleep here and there. I’m just enjoying it, man. It’s great timing, to be in the summer, be around, be with the family and get ready for the season.”
Assuming your ankle is healthy, what’s your goal on the court?
“For me, I have a great opportunity to be a vocal leader on the team, to lead the charge as the point guard. Guys will hopefully respond to the things I say on the floor when I’m trying to get everybody to the right spots and right situations, being the coach on the floor and extension of Coach Jackson. I never go into season with stats or anything on my mind. For me, to just go out there and play my game and use my teammates the best way I can and set them up will make me look good and make everybody else look good.”
What have you done this summer to establish yourself as a leader?
“Just talking to guys and being present. I didn’t go to summer league, but I was out here before the draft. With the rookies, letting them know we’re going to be a tight-knit group. we’re going to ask a lot of them to help us get to where we’re trying to go. With Bogut and the other guys we’ve added to the team, we’ve got to come in with chemistry. That’s going to be my job to put it all together.”
Can you give us a sense of how long each of the workouts have gone and what kind of things have you done?
“About an hour and a half — obviously I do my rehab stuff with the athletic training staff — but when I get on the court about an hour and a half. A lot of shots. A lot of moving, cutting, working on sets, getting jump shots up and then playing a lot of one-on-one. Working on defensive positioning, sliding feet and staying low with Kent (Bazemore) and yesterday with Charles (Jenkins). That’s the part that’s most beneficial to me while I’m here, working out with some of our guys and pushing each other so I can play in some competitive situations that I haven’t done since March. It feels good to be able to do that and feel healthy.”
What are your thoughts on the Lakers?
“When you add an All-Star, it’s always going to help. It doesn’t change the fact that we have a great time playing the Lakers every year with the fans we have here and how much they want to beat them. It probably adds a little fuel to that. But you’ve got to go out and play, so we’ll see what happens.”
Will it be weird to see Steve Nash in a Lakers uniform?
“Yeah, it will be. Every year guys switch uniforms and it takes a minute to kind of take it all in. It will be different seeing Nash and Dwight (Howard), and Kobe and Pau and Metta World Peace on the same roster. They’re pretty deep. It should be fun to go at them and beat them.”
What’s your personal goal?
“Make the playoffs. Whatever personal accolades come from that, somebody’s doing something well. If it’s me or if it’s whoever, it doesn’t matter. As long as we’re relevant come third week of April and not planning beach trips.”
What was the most frustrating point with the ankle?
“Obviously, the time I did it March 10 against Dallas when I had played four games straight. I made a simple pivot move to change a ball from side to side and landed on somebody’s foot and twisted it. The way that I hurt myself was just kind of frustrating. That was probably the point where I had finally gotten some momentum the second half of the season and it just stopped like that. That was probably the toughest time. And then, after that, I didn’t play again. Just being patient though that first month trying to get back (on the court) then just getting to that point where we ran out of time.”
How much is contract extension weight on my mind?
“It’s not. That’s for my agent and (GM) Bob (Myers) to have a meeting and talk about it and I’ll make a decision once all the details are out. But whether I get an extension or not, I’ve still got to play this year and be healthy. So that’s my only goal, my only focus. It would be great to get that done. I want to be out here in Golden State, be part of the future we’re trying to build here. It’s not like I’m trying to skip out or do anything else. If they make a great offer, I’m definitely going to take it.”