Golden State Warriors superstar Stephen Curry underwent surgery on Friday to repair his broken left hand, and the two-time NBA MVP is expected to miss at least three months, the team announced.
Curry suffered the injury early in the third quarter of a loss to the Phoenix Suns on Wednesday, when Suns center Aron Baynes fell on Curry after he had landed awkwardly on a drive to the basket. Initial reports suggested Curry may be able to return before the calendar turned to 2020, but a press release from the Warriors suggested that a status update will not be provided until at least the end of January.
The five-time defending Western Conference champion Warriors have started the season abysmally, submitting a 1-3 record and the league’s worst defense in October. What already appeared to be an uphill battle is now an almost insurmountable mountain, as three months from Curry’s surgery coincides with Golden State’s 50th game of the season, shortly before the trade deadline and All-Star break.
There is no telling what the ramifications could be for a Golden State franchise that expected to still compete in the playoffs, even despite the losses of Kevin Durant and Andre Iguodala over the summer. Curry’s injury all but guarantees the Warriors will miss the postseason for the first time in eight years. It is a disastrous start for a franchise that just moved into a new arena, and the fallout could be costly.
Klay Thompson, still recovering from his own ACL surgery, will almost certainly not return this season, and Draymond Green is among the players the Warriors could consider trading in an attempt to reset for 2020-21. Green is the last remaining healthy link to the Warriors team that won 73 games and claimed to “light-years ahead” of the league just three years ago, save for Kevon Looney, who played all but 21 minutes as a rookie that season and has managed just 10 minutes this year due to neuropathy in his leg.
The interview Warriors owner Joe Lacob granted to The New York Times Magazine in March 2016 is ominous now. His light-years pronouncement, which included the claim, “We’re going to be a handful for the rest of the NBA to deal with for a long time,” has few rivals feeling sorry for them, especially teams that saw their own injuries cost them chances against to stop the Warriors on their way to three titles.
Still, there is no doubt that the loss of Curry is a blow to the NBA as a whole. Not only was he expected to compete for another MVP award and scoring title this season, he is one of the league’s greatest attractions — a transcendent shooter whose electric style of play has transformed the game for a whole generation. With the possible exception of LeBron James, there is no player as popular as Curry, and it is a bummer that we will not see him shimmying after another 30-footer until February at the earliest.
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