MVP Steph Curry’s Injury Has Fans of the Warriors Worried
by Jacob Russell
Photo by John Russell
During game four in the Warriors’ first round matchup against the Rockets, reigning NBA MVP and soon to be two-time MVP Stephen Curry took a hard fall and damaged his right knee.
Steph Curry has had injury problems since he first joined the league; his ankles seemed to be made of glass. Curry suffered injury after injury and was constantly sitting out of games. However, during the past three years, he hired a new trainer and adopted a new workout regimen designed to alleviate his ankle issues, and since then, he hasn’t suffered any major injury, and has become one of the healthiest players in the NBA. Given Curry’s history, however, it’s easy to wince every time that he slips, takes a hard hit, lands on his feet awkwardly. Curry has had plenty of injury scares, but he has soldiered through all of the beatings that an NBA season brings on the body.
Going into this year’s NBA playoffs, Curry had had his most injury proof regular season in his career. Part of this is attributed to the fact that Steph rarely has to play more than 32 minutes per game simply because of how good the Warriors are, they always blow out teams. When the playoffs started, the Warriors, to the surprise of nobody, were blowing out their 8th seed opponent, the James Harden led 41-41 Houston Rockets. However, during game two, Steph landed awkwardly and sprained his ankle, and although he has fought through a lot of minor injuries in his career, this was one he couldn’t battle. He left the game and the Warriors still won, but understandably there were questions regarding Steph’s fitness and health.
The Rockets went on to win game three in the series against the Curry-less Warriors and marched on to game four feelings optimistic about their chances given that it was still unknown just how serious Curry’s injury was. Curry, however, went on to play in game four nearly a week after his ankle sprain. He started off slow, and it became clear that the future MVP was not 100% fit and ready to play. Before halftime, Houston had gotten a fast break attempt with 3 seconds left on the clock, players were rushing across the floor, and Rockets player Donatas Motiejunas slipped on the court and left a spot on the court drenched in sweat. Curry, trying to defend the Rockets’ ball handler, ended up backing into the wet spot, ended up falling really awkwardly, and banged his knee really hard on the court, while possibly tweaking both of his ankles given how weirdly he fell.
Steph would try to re-enter game after halftime, but he simply couldn’t; he held on to his right leg and reportedly cried to his teammates and coach, and apologizing for not being able to play. The Warriors went on to win the game anyway, but everybody was really concerned with Curry. An MRI the day after confirmed that Curry had damaged his MCL and would be out for at least two weeks. In lieu of this, understandably, doubts began to rise. People began to question if the Warriors could make it past the second round of the playoffs without Curry, and some began to not favor the Warriors over other teams. But, I wouldn’t worry too much.
Stephen Curry is the rightful MVP this season on, record-wise, the best team of all time, the 73-9 Golden State Warriors. Curry is a huge part of their success, and he’s the largest piece of the puzzle; however he’s not the only piece. Another large part of this team’s success came from the playmaking and defensive capability of Draymond Green, and the current consensus second best shooter in the NBA, Klay Thompson. Also, there is a reason that Steph only had to play max 32 minutes per game, and that is because the Warriors’ bench unit is not only the best in the league, but that starting five off the bench would probably be a pretty serviceable team in the league itself. That Warriors bench lineup is so defensively strong and offensively sound, that most teams have to play their own starters against the Warriors’ bench to be able to compete.
Walkersville is full of people who are basketball fans, and has no shortage of people with opinions on Steph Curry, so I took to the halls and asked people how much they felt that Steph’s injury would hamper the Warriors’ dreams of being back to back champions.
Senior Jack Baroudi said “I don’t think that the Warriors need Steph in the second round, as long as Steph’s back before the Conference Finals when they play OKC or the Spurs they’ll be fine.”
Freshman Randie Burns didn’t share that optimism. She said “I’m honestly so scared for the Warriors, Steph is like the biggest reason that they’re even competing, and not having your number one scorer really screws up your whole team.”
Junior Noah Ferguson said “The Warriors might not even make it past the second round without Steph; they’ll play the Clippers of the Blazers in that round, and without Steph both of those teams are better on offense than the Warriors without Steph.”
I personally, wouldn’t be too scared for the Warriors chances of repeating. If Curry is only out for two weeks, he’ll be healthy way before the Conference Finals, and I think that Draymond and Klay don’t get nearly as much props as they deserve for being good players since Steph, deservedly, takes most of the attention. We’ll see just how the rest of the Warriors step up when they have to play probably a full series without Curry, but if I was a Warriors fan, I wouldn’t be worried, at least, not until either OKC or San Antonio.