When the first Steph Curry injury occurred at the start of the NBA playoffs, Golden State Warriors’ fans took a deep breath, but realized it was just a small sprain and he would return. However, when Curry did return to the playoff series against the Houston Rockets in Game 4, a new injury looks like it might end up being much worse. ESPN reported that Steph has a sprained MCL, and will miss at least two weeks of the NBA playoffs.
How much will this injury hurt the Golden State Warriors as they look to win back-to-back NBA Championships? The fact is that Steph is not the only star on the Warriors team, but he is the best player on the team, and possibly the best in the NBA right now. The Curry injury will change the complexion of the Warriors as a team, and has definitely been an eye-opener for teams like the San Antonio Spurs and Oklahoma City Thunder, two teams that face off in the second round of the NBA playoffs.
"I just feel so bad for him." - Steve Kerr on Steph Curry pic.twitter.com/h1E7lZ12HJ— Warriors Nation (@SFWarriorNation) April 26, 2016
The best news is that Steph will still return from his injury during the NBA playoffs, as long as it is not too late. The official word is that the injury will be re-evaluated in two weeks. The Warriors lead the series against the Rockets, 3-1, and unless the rest of the team collapses, they will win that series. Even without Curry, the Warriors won the second game by nine points, and lost the third by only one on a James Harden basket that the NBA said should not have even counted.
The good news for the Warriors is that the Los Angeles Clippers and Portland Trail Blazers are tied up at 2-2, so they have at least two more games left of their series, and possibly three. The longer that series rolls on, the better chance that Golden State has of getting Steph back from his injury for the series against that winner. With ESPN reporting that Chris Paul broke his hand, another key injury this postseason, it helps the Warriors, as well, because that will probably cause Portland to move on.
Portland went 1-3 against Golden State this year. The last time they played was on April 3 when Steph Curry scored 39 points and the Warriors won by 25 points. However, the series might look different without Curry on the court. Two weeks out with the injury could put him back by around the third or fourth game of that series, unless Portland wins out against Los Angeles. In that case, Steph might be back too late to help his Warriors.
With that said, it is important to understand that the Golden State Warriors are not a one-star team. Steph is not even the best in any statistical area outside of steals during the playoffs on average. Klay Thompson leads the team in scoring with 22.5 points-per-game. Draymond Green leads the team with 9.8 rebounds and 6.3 assists. Curry is the leader, with two steals a game. However, Steph does rank second in points, with 15.8 per game, and he is a difference maker when he is on the court.
In the two NBA playoff games that Curry missed due to injury, it was Thompson who led Game 2 with 34 points, and bench player Marreese Speights with 17 points in the Game 3 loss. Green had a double-double in Game 2, with 12 points and 14 rebounds, along with eight assists. In Game 3, he didn’t hit double digits in either area. When it comes to tougher teams than Houston, Golden State needs all their stars on the court.
The biggest thing to worry about for Steph’s fans is what will happen when the two weeks ends and Curry is re-evaluated. If he is unable to return to the court at that time, with either the San Antonio Spurs or Oklahoma City Thunder waiting, the Golden State Warriors season will be in dire straits. If the Warriors want to finish their dream season with a title, they need this Steph Curry injury behind them.
[Photo by AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez]