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The Golden State Warriors' Monta Ellis heads down court after making the steal against the New York Knicks in the second quarter of their NBA game played at the Oracle Arena in Oakland, Calif., on Wednesday, Dec. 28, 2011. (Dan Honda/Staff)

The Warriors may have to face the Philadelphia 76ers on Saturday night without star guards Monta Ellis and Stephen Curry.

Neither practiced Friday. Ellis went to Mississippi to be with his family in advance of his grandmother's funeral Saturday. Curry was limited to pre-practice drills because of a sprained right ankle.

"We'll play the cards," coach Mark Jackson said. "Whether it's without Steph or without Monta or whoever it is, the bottom line is we have guys who are more than capable of stepping up. Our identity remains the same. We've got to find a way to get it done."

Ellis grandmother, Mary Cole, died on Christmas Day. She was 89. Ellis played the first three games with a heavy heart. He left for Jackson, Miss., on Thursday and his return is uncertain.

It's possible Ellis could attend the funeral and fly back in time for the game, though Saturday's 6 p.m. start increases the degree of difficulty.

Jackson said he's preparing as if Ellis will not play.

"Family is first," Jackson said. "He lost a grandmother who he loves dearly, and we want him to take as much time that he needs to take care of home."

Curry, who missed Wednesday's victory over New York, is officially listed as day-to-day. He said his ankle feels better though it's still sore.

He said the extra rest has helped. He's trying a new technique for taping his ankle for more support. He also flew to Nike headquarters in Oregon to scout for a different shoe.

"It's the same situation," Curry said. "It was tough to sit out last game. Obviously, sitting out last game was in preparation for Saturday. We'll see what happens. I want to play. If I'm ready, I will."

Curry also said he won't force himself into action if Ellis indeed misses Saturday's game.

So what happens if Golden State is missing its starting backcourt?

The way Ish Smith played in place of Curry against the Knicks, he almost certainly will get the nod if Curry doesn't play Saturday. As far as who replaces Ellis in the lineup, Jackson has a few options.

The most obvious is swingman Brandon Rush. Since being acquired by Golden State from Indiana on Dec. 19, Rush has won over Jackson, his teammates and the fans. He's averaged 27 minutes in the first three games. His numbers suggest how versatile his contributions have been: 12 points, 4 rebounds, 2 blocks, 1.3 steals and 1 assists per game and 62.5 percent from 3-point range.

Still, don't be surprised if rookie swingman Klay Thompson gets the nod.

Thompson has seen his minutes decrease each game: from 19 against the Los Angeles Clippers, to 11 against Chicago, to 8 against New York. But Jackson said he hasn't lost confidence in the Warriors' first-round draft pick.

Starting Thompson not only keeps Rush in the sixth man role -- in which he's been thriving in. It could also be the confidence boost Thompson needs.

"I think Klay Thompson is a guy that's due a breakout performance," Jackson said. "He's struggled at times. I thought he wasn't ready the other day. ... I believe in Klay Thompson and his ability.

"With young players, you've got to be able to expect and handle the bumps and bruises along the way. It's a learning process. I'm not going to let go of the rope with him, so he'll have every opportunity."

  • Tuesday, Golden State reached an agreement to sign free agent Kyrylo Fesenko to a one-year contract for the remainder of the Warriors' salary cap space (just over $1 million). Wednesday, he arrived in Oakland and participated in some drills. Friday, a team spokesperson said the Warriors were "going in a different direction."

  • A fireworks show from the Oracle Arena roof will follow Saturday's game. Though the first three games were sellouts, tickets are still available for Golden State-Philadelphia at Warriors.com.