Warriors’ Steph Curry probable to return Tuesday: How Golden State fared without him, what’s next

The Warriors upgraded star Steph Curry to probable to return from his left shoulder injury Tuesday at home against the Suns. Here’s what you need to know:

  • Curry sustained a left shoulder subluxation that caused damage to his labrum, league sources told The Athletic, during a game against the Pacers on Dec. 14.
  • He exited that game in the third quarter after partially blocking a Jalen Smith shot. He immediately clutched his left shoulder and jogged up the court slowly before a timeout was called.
  • The Warriors said on Dec. 24 that Curry was “making good progress” in his recovery and would be evaluated again in two weeks.


Curry is averaging 30 points, 6.6 rebounds and 6.8 assists per game on 50 percent shooting from the field across 26 games this season.

His absence would end at 11 games if he plays against Phoenix. Golden State went 6-5 without him — including five straight wins at home from Dec. 25 to Jan. 2 — and sits at 20-20 on the year, seventh in the Western Conference.

Since Dec. 16, Golden State’s most-used lineup has been Klay Thompson, Draymond Green, Kevon Looney, Donte DiVincenzo and Jordan Poole. That unit sported a net rating of minus-0.4 over 85 minutes together over that span; Poole led the Warriors with 81.9 touches per game. Poole has scored at least 20 points in each of his last seven games, marking the second-longest such streak of his career.

In Curry’s absence, the Warriors went 5-2 at home (plus-1.1 net rating) and 1-3 on the road (minus-14.8 net rating), per The team’s .158 road win percentage overall is on pace to be its worst single-season mark since 2000-01 (.146), when the Warriors finished 17-65 overall.

What Curry’s return means for Golden State

The Warriors have their best player back and the league has arguably its most popular figure back. It comes at a good time for both. The Warriors, at 20-20, are in the middle tier of a packed West. If they can go on a run in the upcoming weeks, they have a chance to shoot toward the fourth seed after a disastrous start.

The schedule sets up well. They have a struggling Suns team Tuesday followed by the Spurs, Bulls and Wizards to open the upcoming road trip. For the league, they get Curry back for two nationally televised games. This juices up the Phoenix game for TNT and provides the Spurs, attempting to break an NBA record for attendance at the Alamodome on ESPN on Friday, a more marketable opponent. — Slater

How did the Warriors play in his absence?

Capably. Curry missed the last 11 games and the Warriors went 6-5 in his absence, treading enough water to remain 20-20. That was a behind-the-scenes goal. Stick around .500, get Curry and Andrew Wiggins back and then make a run. Wiggins came back last game. Andre Iguodala is back in the picture. Poole bumps down into a lower usage role. This is the time for them to surge. — Slater

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(Photo: Darren Yamashita / USA Today)


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