Stephen Curry leaves locker room on crutches after nasty right ankle sprain

Ball Don't Lie
<a class="link rapid-noclick-resp" href="/nba/players/4612/" data-ylk="slk:Stephen Curry">Stephen Curry</a> came up wincing and hobbling after stepping on <a class="link rapid-noclick-resp" href="/nba/players/4937/" data-ylk="slk:E’Twaun Moore">E’Twaun Moore</a>’s foot late in the Warriors’ win over the Pelicans. (Getty)
Stephen Curry came up wincing and hobbling after stepping on E’Twaun Moore’s foot late in the Warriors’ win over the Pelicans. (Getty)

Stephen Curry did it again on Monday night. The fear, though, is that … well, he did it again.

For the second time in less than a month, the two-time NBA Most Valuable Player woke up from a first-half slumber against the New Orleans Pelicans with a thundering third quarter to help the Golden State Warriors turn a massive halftime deficit into a double-digit win. I’d call it a comfortable win, but I’m guessing what happened down the stretch didn’t make too many Warriors fans feel all that cozy.

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The defending NBA champions had dug themselves a 21-point halftime hole, just over two weeks after they’d done the same thing against the Philadelphia 76ers. They then roared back to life after intermission, just as they’d done against Philly, behind a signature third-quarter barrage from Curry, who scored or assisted on 30 of the Dubs’ 39 points in the frame.

Klay Thompson led the way in the fourth, scoring 12 of his 22 in the final 12 minutes to help the Warriors pull away late. After Kevin Durant and DeMarcus Cousins got ejected with just over one minute remaining for a verbal altercation that briefly threatened to get physical, all the Warriors needed to do was get out of the final 60 seconds at Smoothie King Center in New Orleans without any incident.

Instead:

As he raced to close out on the perimeter in an effort to pick off a pass to Pelicans guard E’Twaun Moore with just under a minute to go, Curry came up empty. Instead, he stepped down on top of Moore’s right foot, badly rolling his right ankle.

With Curry on the ground, tending to his ailing ankle, Moore hit a 3 to cut the Warriors’ lead to seven points. As Golden State advanced the ball up the floor, Curry was clearly in pain; after the Pelicans fouled to stop the clock, he limped off the floor and went back to the locker room, and would not return the Warriors’ 125-115 win.

The diagnosis didn’t take long:


It was a sour end to another strong night for Curry, who finished with 31 points on 9-for-19 shooting, including a 5-for-11 mark from 3-point range, to go with 11 assists and five rebounds in 34 1/2 minutes of playing time:

After the game, Curry needed crutches to make his way to the X-ray machine at the Pelicans’ arena for a look inside an ankle that has undergone two separate surgeries:



The balky ankle, which Curry sprained no fewer than a handful of times between surgeries, cost him 40 games of the lockout-shortened 2011-12 season. Concerns over the present state of and future outlook for the ankle depressed Curry’s value when it was time to sign an extension of his rookie contract, allowing the Warriors to keep him around on a four-year, $44 million deal.

Thanks to the removal of “thick, sticky bands of scar tissue […] as well as inflamed tissue, bone spurs and chips of cartilage,” tons of rehabilitation, an overhauled training regime and some well-timed anointing, Curry was able to exorcise the demons from his haunted ankle, going on to become one of the best basketball players in the world and perhaps its single greatest bargain. (Until this past summer, anyway.) He’s had some concerning moments with the ankle in the intervening years, but by and large, he’s remained healthy and whole, playing 78 or more regular-season games in each of the last five seasons while shouldering a massive load for one of the best teams in the NBA.

And then, there he was on Monday night, needing crutches to get that old familiar busted wheel looked at.

Curry emerged from the test with the ankle wrapped in ice, leaving fans and the Warriors fearing the worst:


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The initial results gave Warriors fans some room to exhale …



… but he’s not out of the woods yet.


After emerging from the X-ray room, Curry spoke with reporters briefly about what went through his head when he went down, and how he felt with a little bit of distance from the moment of shock:


“This is more on the concerned side,” Curry said when asked if his prior experiences with ankle sprains gave him a sense of how bad this particular injury might be.

Then he quickly walked that back.

“I shouldn’t say that,” he continued. “It’s more on the, well, I won’t bounce back tomorrow morning and wake up and [think], ‘All right, I should be [fine or] whatever.’ Just because of the swelling. But all things considered, knowing I’ve been through this before on this ankle, knowing the surgical repairs from five six years ago are fine, [I] should be able to bounce back.”

Curry clarified how he knew the surgical repairs were fine: “That’s more the X-ray stuff that was negative. Thankfully, that came back. So just got to take it one day at a time, rely on the athletic training staff in there to get me back on the court as soon as possible.”

We won’t find out until after Tuesday’s MRI when that will be, but one would suspect it won’t be Wednesday, when the 19-6 Warriors take on the Charlotte Hornets in North Carolina. It’ll be a bummer if Steph’s not able to suit up in his hometown, and a tough interruption of a comfortable run for Curry, who’s got five 30-point performances in his last nine outings, and now sits fourth in the league in scoring and 10th in assists. But if all he needs is a little bit of time on the shelf to increase the likelihood of avoiding lingering issues, you can bet Steve Kerr and the rest of the Warriors braintrust will err on the side of caution when it comes to the well-being of the centerpiece of the entire organization.

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Dan Devine is an editor for Ball Don’t Lie on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at devine@yahoo-inc.com or follow him on Twitter!

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