Warriors: Stephen Curry’s 3-word update on injury status vs. Lakers will please fans

Warriors' Stephen Curry

One of the biggest games of the season to date, thankfully, seems set to feature some of its biggest stars. Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry appears likely to play in Saturday’s pivotal matchup with LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers after missing his team’s last three games with a right ankle injury.

The Warriors have yet to submit their initial injury report for Saturday’s clash at Crypto.com Arena. While he still faces further evaluations from team trainers before getting cleared to take the floor, Curry told reporters Friday he’s on track to play.

“That’s the plan,” he said, according to NBA insider Mark Medina.

Stephen Curry sprained his ankle in crunch-time of Golden State’s disappointing home loss to the Chicago Bulls on March 7th, twisting it while driving to the rim. He quickly hobbled to the locker room, absent for the last three minutes of the Bulls’ comeback victory as well as the Dubs’ next three games—a home-and-home with the San Antonio Spurs they split and Wednesday’s loss to the Dallas Mavericks, which Draymond Green also missed due to lower back soreness.

After the suddenly slumping Warriors’ defeat in Dallas, Steve Kerr expressed optimism they’d get back on track, Curry’s potential availability in Los Angeles driving that hope.

“I still like who our team is. We’re hoping to get Steph back for Saturday,” he said. “I like the team a lot better now than I did a couple months ago where we were really sorting through a lot of things. I think we have an identity, I think we know who we are. I think we’ll bounce back here, and I’m excited about the last part of the season.”

Winner of Warriors-Lakers will get crucial leg up for prospective play-in tournament battle

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Just one game separates the Warriors and Lakers at the bottom of the Western Conference playoff race. Golden State is at 34-31 compared to Los Angeles’ 36-31, with the chance to effectively tie James, Davis and company in the standings with a win on Saturday night.

More important is what a victory for either team would mean for a potential postseason tie-breaker. The Warriors lost to the Lakers in a double-overtime classic at Chase Center in late January, then beat them a few weeks later in San Francisco as a hobbled James watched from the bench. The winner of Saturday’s game will take a 2-1 head-to-head lead entering the teams’ final matchup on April 9th, which will take place in Los Angeles.

The Lakers are two games back of the Dallas Mavericks for eighth-place and two-and-a-half behind the Phoenix Suns in seventh. A loss to the sixth-place Sacramento Kings on Saturday was a major hit to their hopes of finishing the regular season above the play-in tournament fray.

Assuming neither team moves up in the standings over the last month of the season, Saturday’s game will go a long, long way toward deciding whether the Warriors or Lakers have home-court advantage in a do-or-die play-in tournament opener

“This is a big game….almost a playoff game,” Los Angeles forward Rui Hachimura told Steve Galluzzo of the Los Angeles Times on Friday. “We had a great team meeting today, we went over plays. They’ve been preparing for us. We have to defend them well, box out on Draymond and help AD [Anthony Davis] as much as we can. They like to shoot threes but they’re a good transition team too and they have a lot of off-ball movement, so we have to talk and help each other.”

The Lakers are proceeding as if Stephen Curry and Green will play on Saturday. Barring a setback for either player, expect both of Golden State’s future Hall-of-Famers to be on the floor for their most important game of the season so far.