Storyline: Stephen Curry Injury

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Aside from a two-week run-up after his extended break, they went “pedal to the medal.” Twice a day, six days a week, the routine interrupted briefly by Curry’s Under Armour trip to China in early September. The good news, as Payne sees it? “He’s the strongest he’s ever been,” he said with a smile. Q: There was so much talk about Steph’s knee and the part it played in the Finals. How did you see it? How bad a shape was he in? A: “You know, the injury he had, it wasn’t a bad injury. It just needed rest. That’s really all it was. It wasn’t like he was ever in jeopardy of having a procedure or anything like that. He just needed rest. So five weeks of rest was good.”

“As bad as I wanted it to be him (in the Finals), it wasn’t him,” said Payne, who has worked with Curry since 2011 and spent much of the late summer leading two-a-day workouts with Curry six times a week while living in the Bay Area. “We don’t like to make excuses, and we’re not going to make excuses because all that matters is what happens in the 48 minutes when you’re on the floor. (But) I wish it was the other version of him, the version that we saw for 82 games.”

Since his first injury, in Game 1 against the Houston Rockets, Curry hasn’t really been Curry. He’s struggled to turn the corner on defenders on his way to the rim, and he’s had a troubling turnover rate, which may have happened (in part) because he found himself with unfamiliar passing lanes after being unable to create his usual space. Curry’s dropoff was also evident in his shooting weeks ago, and it hasn’t improved. Since his return, Curry has been worse in virtually every significant metric — even compared to his pre-injury performance against the same opponents:

Game Score is an imperfect metric for combining box score stats, but in this case, it gets the job done. Pre-injury, Curry performed better against his playoff opponents this season than he did against a typical team. Moreover, he performed similarly against all four squads. Looking at the bottom line: The Warriors went 10-7 with Curry playing after his first injury. Again, although that doesn’t look dramatic, the likelihood of it happening by chance alone can be quite slim: For a team that wins 90 percent of games, the chances of losing seven of 17 are around 1 in 10,000. At 80 percent, they’re around 1 in 100, and at 70 percent, they’re around 1 in 10.

Golden State Warriors: “My previous experiences with USA Basketball have been incredibly rewarding, educational and enjoyable, which made this an extremely difficult decision for me and my family. However, due to several factors – including recent ankle and knee injuries – I believe this is the best decision for me at this stage of my career. It’s an incredible honor to represent your country and wear ‘USA’ on your chest, but my primary basketball-related objective this summer needs to focus on my body and getting ready for the 2016-17 NBA season.”

Stephen Curry pulls out of 2016 Olympics

Stephen Curry will not play in the 2016 Summer Olympics in Brazil and he may not be the only Warriors star to opt out. According to multiple sources, Curry has already told USA Basketball he will not be playing for a gold medal. He will instead let his right knee heal. This is good news for the Warriors, who usually like their players in these high-profile opportunities because it helps the overall brand. It’s a smart move by Curry, who is piling on the mileage now that the Warriors are champions.

Curry has been a shell of himself – missing shots, throwing away passes, losing his dribble, and completely unable to prove that there’s Curry-esque agility in that knee. “He’s playing at 70 percent, at best,” a source close to Curry told The Vertical. Curry refuses to make excuses, but privately the Thunder see something – no explosion, no ability to make the bigs switching onto him pay a price. Twenty points on 19 shots Tuesday night bore no resemblance to the two-time NBA Most Valuable Player.

Curry hasn’t played since April 24th and has missed the Warriors’ last four games after slipping on a damp spot on the court in Game 4 against the Houston Rockets. He played 2-on-2 with Warriors coaches before Saturday’s game and then did some 3-on-3 work on Sunday. “He looked about like he looked yesterday in terms of movement,” Kerr said. “Conditioning is going to be an issue, but hopefully he can get more and more work in and we’ll see how it comes up tomorrow.”

Stephen Curry ruled out for Game 3

The MVP is making progress but he won’t be playing Saturday night in front of an ABC audience. Warriors head coach Steve Kerr confirmed that soon-to-be back-to-back MVP Stephen Curry will not play as he continues to recover from a sprained right knee. Kerr did say that Curry did some stuff earlier on Saturday, which included playing 2-on-2 with some of the Warriors’ assistant coaches. It wasn’t quite a full simluation and it wasn’t even 3-on-3, but it was the closest Curry has come to simulating live game action since injuring his knee back on April 24.

Curry’s post-practice shooting drills were downgraded from Area 51 experiment to viewable by local media. Which means the Warriors aren’t as worried about Curry aggravating his sprained right MCL and someone catching it on Snapchat. Which means Curry is making meaningful progress. Which means his injured knee might not cost them a title after all. “By far the best he’d looked,” Kerr said. “He’s made progress every day. But he looked much, much better than he did even two days ago.”

You can find all sorts of insider information, guesses and speculation about whether Stephen Curry will play against the Trail Blazers Saturday night in Game 3 of their best-of-seven playoff series against the Golden State Warriors. The prevailing opinion seems to be that Curry won’t return. But does Portland Coach Terry Stotts expect Curry — who has been out with an MCL sprain to his right knee — to be back in action?: “Yes,” Stotts said with apparent certainty Thursday afternoon, prior to his team’s practice.

Shaquille O’Neal on Stephen Curry: When you’re talking about an MCL sprain, rehab is all about going straight. Riding the bike straight, in the pool straight. But when you’re dealing with that MCL, you come out and try to play in a game, now you got to start doing that lateral movement. Bending knees, banging knees…. “ Kenny Smith on Stephen Curry: I understand what Shaq and Charles are saying, but it’s going to come to a point where he has to play against competition, and he’s gonna be rusty, and he’s gonna have to get himself back into game shape. So if it’s Saturday, or Monday…. I understand what Steve [Kerr] is saying. If he’s healthy, he’s gonna be rusty or he’s going to have to play through rust. So, there’s no way to save him anymore if he’s healthy. [Golden State] are not going to win a championship without him, so they have to try to do it with him. And if he’s healthy, eventually he’s gonna have to be thrown into the fire.
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November 20, 2017 | 3:47 pm EST Update