Warriors survived without Curry earlier, can they do it again?
Stakes just got higher for a Golden State team chasing wins
The scene is replaying in slo-mo through my head in a loop. Stephen Curry, doing a sort of defensive slide, gets hit right in the side of his knee just as his left leg picks up. You can see the whole alignment shift for a moment, Curry’s leg and the Warriors’ hopes superimposed on top of each other for that split second before Curry limps off. The diagnosis is bad, but could have been worse.
There’s no formal timeline announced yet, but the news isn’t great. Curry is certainly out for the five games ahead of the All-Star break, with an extended absence beyond that all but assured. So the attention pivots to the remaining Warriors, who are going to have to somehow conjure up enough miracles to stay relevant as the playoff chase heats up. They have five chances before the All-Star break, facing the Oklahoma Thunder tonight, then the Blazers, Lakers, Wizards and Clippers.
WHO: Golden State Warriors (27-26) vs Oklahoma City Thunder (25-27)
WHEN: Monday, February 6th, 2023 // 7pm PDT
Is there a doctor in the house? What the heck is the Curry injury?
Let me start this off by saying up front that I am not a doctor. In fact, I can hardly manage to follow a doctor’s advice, when given direct instructions. But nonetheless [how is that one word?] I feel like we could all use a bit of a summary on what exactly happened to Curry’s leg. There’s a lot of words in here that I didn’t even know existed.
Anyways, the tibia and fibula are the two major lower leg bones - I learned that in gym class back in middle school or high school. But according to the internet, Curry hurt the ligament that connects those two major lower leg bones, as well as the tissue that runs between both of those bones…. oh and the muscle.
Here’s a picture.
So… not good, for sure - but it sounds like this sort of injury is mostly related to a direct contact injury and don’t generally require surgery (again, maximum caveats here to not take my presumed expertise and quickly clipped twitter posts as any sort of actual insight).
But the takeaway here is that Curry is probably going to be ok, and should come back in time for the playoffs.
The questions that rise to the forefront
With Curry out, the burden shift to the other main cogs to make the machine work. Unfortunately, the timing isn’t great. Draymond Green is hobbled. He almost missed the team’s last game with a leg issue (which could be connected to his troublesome back via the glory of old age). Andrew Wiggins is still working his way back from whatever non-Covid mega illness he had. And Jordan Poole has been maddingly unreliable.
At 34.6 minutes per game on average, Curry leads the team - so his absence leaves not just a talent gap to fill, but a huge swath of rotation minutes to plug up as well. Poole will inherit the lion’s share, but he’s already up around 30 minutes per game, so there’s only so much more he can do.
Donte DiVincenzo has been one of the standouts on the bench so far, so hopefully he can continue to shine while being asked to do a bit (a lot?) more. Could this be a time for Moses Moody to break out of the cold storage?
It also probably re-opens some doors regarding free agency and trade deadline moves that were politely closed during previous planning meetings. The same problems still present themselves, but maybe the math has changed enough to push the front office into action.
The thing is though, stocks are as low as they’ve ever been on the team’s most fungible assets, and unless it’s a big enough deal to move the needle, it’s hard for me to imagine the team tossing assets at improving the 9th or 10th player.
Nah. More likely is that it’s time to tighten up the grip on whatever it has been that’s gotten you through this much of the season so far. There’s “walking on the edge” and then there’s doing it with your shoes untied - Golden State just untied everyone’s shoes and challenged Dub Nation to a race to the end of February. Strap in!
De’Aaron Fox should get Curry’s spot in the All-Star game. Also, the Warriors should win this game tonight. Also, also, my new fuzzy sweatpants are extremely comfortable; I expect they’ll get a lot minutes in the home rotation.