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Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr rules out Stephen Curry for first round

Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr has ruled out Stephen Curry for the first round of the playoffs, telling reporters before Sunday’s game with the Jazz there’s “no way” the two-time MVP will return in time from the sprained left knee ligament he suffered last Friday against the Hawks.

“Oh, there’s no way he’s playing in the first round,” Kerr said. “There’s no way. So yeah, we have to be ready to play without him and see how he’s coming along. The good thing is, we’ve been through this. We should feel good about our ability to play through this stuff.

“We also know that Steph has a history of coming back strong from injuries. So there’s a good chance, if all goes well, he comes back during the playoffs at some point, we’re at full steam. So that’s the goal and that’s our plan.”

Curry was officially ruled out for at least three weeks after the latest injury in a season he’s suited up for just 51 of a possible 72 games. The best case scenario would have had Curry return just before the start of the first round on April 14 — 22 days after he was injured.

But with the Warriors facing a favorable matchup thanks to their likely second-place finish in the Western Conference, Kerr obviously isn’t ready to take any chances with his second-leading scorer.

Curry, however, isn’t giving up on the possibility of a full postseason run.

“There’s a blessing in all of this,” he said. “Hopefully they’ll be a story in all of this and at the end of the day, I’ll have an opportunity to get back on the court hopefully before our season is over with and do what I can to help our team win a championship, and that’s really all I’m focused on …

“Hopefully I can get back as close to 100 percent before I get back so I’m not limited out there.”

Curry’s latest setback left the Warriors with all four of their All-Stars battling injuries down the stretch.

Kerr expects Kevin Durant to return this week from fractured rib cartilage, while Draymond Green had been set to return Sunday from a pelvic contusion before being ruled out with flu-like symptoms. Klay Thompson is expected to miss several more games with a fractured right thumb.

“Well, we’ve got to hold down the fort,” Kerr said. “We’ve got enough. We’re blessed with a great roster, a lot of depth and so let’s get going. Let’s play and let’s compete and hold down the fort. There’s no reason why we can’t come out and really play well down the stretch and be ready for the playoffs and then maybe we get Steph back and we’ll see what happens.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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