By Ethan Stern, FULL COURT PRESS RADIO
Stephen Curry, the reigning MVP and leader of the defending champion record-breaking Golden State Warriors, was diagnosed with a Grade 1 Medial Collateral Ligament (MCL) Sprain, throwing Warriors fans into a panic. The diagnosis follows a fall that Curry suffered on a wet spot on the court at Houston’s Toyota Center.
The MCL, which is responsible for twisting movement, is paramount to the kind of game Curry plays, but the diagnosis of a Grade 1 sprain means that the collagen of the ligament was not disrupted too far from what would be considered normal. Curry will most likely be wearing a hinged brace on his leg for the next couple of weeks, as the MCL is not load-bearing and should not restrict Curry’s ability to walk normally. Curry was given a period of two weeks to heal and rehabilitate, after which he will be rehabilitated. Assuming Curry makes a full recovery in the two weeks and passes his evaluation, Curry will miss the first three games of the Western Conference Semifinals.
If all series favorites win, the Warriors will play the Los Angeles Clippers in the second round of the Western Conference Playoffs. The Clippers, who won 53 games this season, would still technically be an underdog against the 73-win Warriors, as Curry was worth an estimated 18 wins, which would bring their season total down to 55.
Unfortunately for Warriors fans, that’s not how these things work. The Clippers were 6th in both offense and defense efficiency this season, meaning they are a borderline title contender in their own right. With Curry, the Warriors led the league in offensive efficiency and were fourth in defense, but without him, granted the small sample size, they drop to fourth in offense and last in defense.
The Warriors net rating without Curry in the playoffs, however, is a solid 4.2, actually having a better offensive rating than the Clippers. The Clippers have had a much better defense though, holding Portland to almost 10 points fewer per 100 possessions than the Warriors have held the Rockets.
The Warriors swept the season series against the Clippers, winning all four games. Curry played in all four games they were matched up against each other.
Update: The Clippers Chris Paul broke his hand in the Game Four loss to the Trail Blazers leaving that series tied at two games apiece. Add to that Blake Griffin old quad injury acting up again and the Clippers could find themselves on the wrong of a long first round series with Portland.
Conclusion, the Warriors just got a lot of breathing room while they wait on Curry’s return.
Ethan Stern writes for FULL COURT PRESS RADIO.
Check out more from Ethan here.
Reprinted with permission.