The NBA's reigning champion Golden State Warriors will be without their star point guard Steph Curry for the beginning of the playoffs once again.
Curry will be absent for the first round of the playoffs after he suffered a Grade 2 MCL sprain to his left knee in the Warriors’ 106-94 win over the Atlanta Hawks.
The Warriors announced Saturday that his knee will be reevaluated in three weeks and that he will miss up to a month, but for other players like teammate Kevin Durant, recovery took six weeks which could have drastic effects on the Warriors’ run for another championship.
With all four players on the court, those being Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green and Kevin Durant, the Warriors almost seemed unbeatable, but with one out it gives teams a slim chance and the extra drive they need to pull off the unimaginable upset.
While Curry has had knee injuries before, the MCL Sprain – especially a Grade 2 sprain, is no joke.
An injury to the MCL puts biomechanical restrictions on all athletes, but it’s especially difficult for a perimeter player.
The MCL flexes as the knee bends during the type of quick lateral movements and changes of direction that guards like Curry use to create space, according to theringer.com.
Not only does this injury affect Curry’s play, but it affects the other star players and the team as a whole. According to SBNation, when Curry isn’t on the floor, the Warriors offensive efficiency plummets tremendously.
Klay Thompson’s effective field goal percentage (eFG%) is nearly 14 percent worse when Curry isn’t playing and Kevin Durant’s shooting percentage dips 7.5 percent. The Warriors as a whole shoot seven percent worse in Curry’s absence.
Steph Curry is the clear leader of the team and the floor general who sets the tone. With three other superstars on the court, one would think that they would be fine in his absence, but the other three have had their fair share of injuries as well.
Kevin Durant has been battling an incomplete rib cartilage fracture, Klay Thompson has a fractured right thumb and Draymond Green has a pelvic contusion. These injuries have forced the Warriors to play players that normally don’t see any playing time and have gone 3-4 during Curry’s second stretch of missed games where the other three have missed time as well.
Unfortunately, Curry returning at any point in the playoffs doesn’t guarantee the Warriors will see the same success in the past. Head coach Steve Kerr said that Curry won’t be 100 percent until the summer where he has time to rest and with the chance of reinjury the Warriors could be back in the same hole they are in now.
With the Warriors’ path to the finals being the hardest it’s ever been and their supporting cast being the worst it’s had in recent years, the lack of bench scoring and bench help could be the ultimate downfall of this years team.
With hefty opponents like the Houston Rockets, the Portland Trailblazers and the Oklahoma City Thunder standing in the way of a potential repeat, the Warriors will be anxious to get Curry back but for now, the team can only hope that he will perform and stay healthy enough to help them get over this first round bump once again.