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Will Maggette get durable as he gets older?

Will Maggette get durable as he gets older?When Corey Maggette examined the Warriors' roster before the preseason, the 10-season NBA veteran saw that he's one of only three players with that much experience.

"At 29, I'm one of the oldest guys on the team, so it's kind of like I'm 45," Maggette said.

He took that as a wake-up call, something that positively affected his offseason work ethic, his mentality and his game. Maggette had offseason wrist surgery, got adequate rest for a bothersome hamstring and started training and eating differently. He came into training camp in tremendous shape and poised to put up terrific numbers.

"He came in looking like the Incredible Hulk," Stephen Jackson said.

And he's been playing like somewhat of a superhero. He'll start the Warriors' season-opener against Houston on Wednesday, partly because power forward Anthony Randolph is banged up with a sore back and knee, and partly because he's earned the spot. Maggette averaged 18 points per game during the preseason, shooting 55.7 percent and playing 25 minutes per game.

Coach Don Nelson didn't want to play Maggette even that much. With a chiseled 6-foot-6, 225-pound frame, Maggette has always looked the part, but his body has too often broken down.

"It's just that you worry about him getting hurt. He has a history of not playing enough games in a season," Nelson said. "He is a very physical player. We were going to try to limit some of that contact by lessoning his minutes, but I don't know if I can do that now.

"He's been outstanding. Defensively, he's where he's supposed to be. We know he's undersized and playing out of position, but he's able to do it because he's so strong and such a smart defender."

In five of his 10 seasons, Maggette has missed 16 or more games because of injuries. He played only 32 in 2005-06 and 51 last season, but promises those days are behind him.

"I have to mask some stuff, so I've got to get used to that," Maggette said. "I've realized that most of the guys in the league play with some of those bumps and bruises, so I can't worry about it. I have to get over the hump, take a practice day off when I can get it and go back at it at game time."

Maggette is focused on a "corrective" regimen that includes weight lifting and a diet that he hopes will keep his body from breaking down. But it's tough, because he plays a physical game and takes a pounding on the court.

"This is a great opportunity to minister to younger guys and help them out, because their careers are just starting," Maggette said. "You can have all of the talent in the world, but you have to know what to eat, what vitamins to take and what work to do to preserve you. Everything negative you do will catch up with you.

"Right now is the time to fix those bad habits and make preparations for the long term."

Kelenna Azubuike ankle and Randolph can study those words. Both practiced Sunday in an effort to return for the lid-lifter. Playing through pain, though, is not an easy lesson to learn since injuries come with such a mental hurdle.

"I've just got to learn to trust my ankle," Azubuike said. "There wasn't any pain, but I've got to able to push off it and let it all hang out there. ... I've just got to get to the point where I'm not thinking about it."

Briefly: Stephen Curry is consistently called the team's best passer by coaches, and, at least in this case, passing appears to be contagious. On back-to-back practice sets Sunday, all five players touched the ball, and each set ended with a dunk. "That kind of movement puts a lot of stress on the defense and definitely gets easier shots for us," Curry said. "With the shooters we have and the skilled big men who can finish, everyone who touches it can potentially make a play. I think that's kind of deadly." ... The Warriors will hold an open practice from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. today at Oracle Arena. Admission and parking are free.

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Added: October 26, 2009


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