OAKLAND -- Stephen Curry is still on the big seesaw, even now at this most important and exasperating moment of his career.

Happy, then hurt, great and then gimpy. Game 2 glory in Denver to tie the series 1-1 and then ...

A left ankle sprain that kept Curry out of practice on Thursday and put his status in some doubt for Friday's Game 3 at Oracle Arena.

Stephen, after all the pride you took in staying mostly healthy this season, how would it feel to possibly miss a playoff game?

"Shoot, it would kill me," Curry said sharply as he sat on the Oracle scorer's table, surrounded by reporters Thursday.

OK, let's be realistic and point out that Curry probably will give it a go in Game 3 if at all possible.

Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry, front center, is congratulated by teammates including injured forward David Lee, back, as Curry leaves the court
Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry, front center, is congratulated by teammates including injured forward David Lee, back, as Curry leaves the court in the fourth quarter of the Warriors' 131-117 victory over the Denver Nuggets in Game 2 of the teams' NBA first-round playoff series in Denver on Tuesday, April 23, 2013. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

He said he couldn't have played if the game was Thursday, but Curry added that the team's careful approach to his ankle injuries in the last few regular seasons leaves more options open to get healthy quick now.

That includes maybe (for the first time) taking a painkilling shot or two.

Curry's right ankle is the one that has required multiple surgeries; he has rolled his left one, but never has needed surgery for it.

"Just trying to manage the swelling and hopefully get it right by (Friday) night," Curry said.

Still, after twisting the ankle during his 30-point outburst in Game 2, returning to action, and then suffering from a lot of swelling afterward, there's no way to know if Curry can be close to his usual self any time soon.

The greatest players, though, figure out how to get through something like this when everything revolves around them.

And the Warriors' playoff hopes absolutely revolve around Curry. And now, his recovery.

"Watching the video of (the injury), I was shocked -- I told him this morning -- that he even got up and walked off and came back," coach Mark Jackson said Thursday. "It looked bad.

"But it's a special time and he's a special player. I think it's important -- I told our trainer Chad (Bergman) he very well could be the MVP of this series."

Really, while not ideal, this situation gives Curry a double layer of potential vindication, with the Denver Nuggets and his injury as a back drop.

Curry could simultaneously prove that he can dominate a playoff series and push through the chronic ankle issues that have haunted his early career.

Epic twofer right there in front of him.

The Warriors lost David Lee in Game 1, but without him, Curry, Klay Thompson and Harrison Barnes torched Denver's defense and Andrew Bogut, Festus Ezeli and Carl Landry did the thump work in Game 2.

They have Denver staggered a bit, and Curry is the Warrior capable of throwing the most knockdown punches.

"I can't be ineffective on the offensive end throughout the course of a game," Curry said.

"I mean, I don't have to shoot lights out, but just keep the defense honest and when I have open opportunities, if they're not double-teaming or trapping, to be able to knock 'em down.

"My word is 'aggressive,' just trying to be as aggressive as possible, shooting or distributing."

But as Curry said that, he was still clearly concerned about his ankle, and that means he and the Warriors aren't sure about Game 3 or beyond.

He's the best thing to hit this franchise in years, and if he could just stay healthy long enough, or gut through what he has suffered already, he'll take them further than they've gone in a long, long time.

Read Tim Kawakami's Talking Points blog at blogs.mercurynews.com/kawakami. Contact him at tkawakami@mercurynews.com.