Should Warriors Play Steph Curry on Christmas? There's No Debate Here

Lakers rookie Lonzo Ball shoots poorly in the first month. He's a bust.

Magic forward Aaron Gordon rains triples in the first month. He's the next Klay Thompson.

Isaiah Thomas is unavailable for the first half of the season. The Cavaliers were fleeced in the deal that sent Kyrie Irving to Boston.

In sports and beyond, we've landed in a place where conclusions must be immediate. No time for things to incubate, much less unfold. No time for perspective or even reviewing the, um, facts. Snap judgments are the norm, embraced even. And if you don't have one, right now, you get incinerated.

Which brings us to the Warriors and Stephen Curry's recovering right ankle. We say recovering because it's in the process of recovering from a fairly significant sprain. If it were fully recovered, or even close, he'd have participated in practices and shootarounds. He'd have been doing, at least for a day, all the things his teammates are doing.

But Curry's career is taking place in the age of physiological enlightenment and medical advancement. So he's in the midst of the tedious physical tests and individual workouts injured players endure before returning to the lineup.

That has not muted the conversation and the constant prowling for clues about his return. We know why. Because he has been seen on the court, two days in a row, at Oracle Arena, running about and taking and making shots, and playing simulating defense. He looks as if maybe he's fine.

"I watch him after practice and I've been really encouraged by his workouts," Warriors coach Steve Kerr said Saturday. "He's moving well. Looks like he is gaining confidence in that movement."

But, still, he should not play.

Yes, the hours are ticking down to the moment when Warriors and their good friends from Cleveland meet in the NBA's super-marquee, nationally televised Christmas Day game. And, yes, that game, without question, wouldn't be the same without Curry.

But, still, he should not play.

Which may explain why everything Kerr has been saying in recent days indicates Curry will not be on the court at noon on Monday.

"If we weren't playing Cleveland on Christmas and I told you Steph hasn't even played in a three-on-three game, he hasn't had any contact at all and the game is 48 hours from now you'd say, ‘Well Steph's not going to play,' " Kerr said.

"But because it's the magnitude of the game and everybody wants to know . . . but we can't let that affect our judgment. He can't play. It would be completely irresponsible if he did."

The coach has been being asked about Curry's status on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday -- despite the Warriors announcing on Tuesday that the point guard would be reevaluated next week. Part of the purpose for that announcement was to avoid the topic until there was an official update.

Asking about it, though, is fine. It's what we as reporters are obligated to do to seek information to pass along to the public. It's also a way to attract an audience, because most anything involving celebrities is "news."

But because we are in this grotesquely distorted place and time, asking for an update or engaging in conversation and speculation must be fabricated into debate. In this instance, it's whether a recovering athlete should or shouldn't play, whether his team should or shouldn't let him or whether they should all gather round a table and take a vote.

Should he try to play? What if he says he feels fine? He should be able to play, right?

Yes, folks are speculating about whether a recovering basketball player should play in a game before he has been cleared to return to full-contact practice. Like, you know, "heroic" football players have been known to do.

This isn't football and playing in a single regular-season game. Despite the presence of LeBron Almighty James, it's Game No. 34 of 82. The Warriors know that. The Cavaliers know that.

Curry should come back when all tests have been passed and he has experienced the friendly fire of at least a three-on-three scrimmage. At this rate, it's conceivable he could be ready by next weekend, when the Warriors have home games on back-to-back nights against the Hornets and the Grizzlies.


Meanwhile, the answer is the loudest possible no, and it doesn't matter how much he wants to. It's OK if things don't happen until they are ready to happen.

Shouldn't even be a discussion, unless the Warriors are lying to us and Curry has spent a couple days cooking teammates behind closed doors.

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