Just a Mere Mortal
By Andre Kidd
There are very few things more terrifying to a Golden State Warrior fan than news of a potential Stephen Curry leg injury. Over the past 7 years of Curry’s professional basketball career he has endured more than his fair share of trauma to the lower extremities. With every fall, tweak, and contortion of Steph’s lean 190 pound frame, the entire Warrior fan base gasps. Although Curry has been extremely durable since having a second ankle surgery to repair torn ligaments back in April of 2012, there is still an uneasiness that resonates with the Golden State organization and its fans whenever he drives to the bucket. It’s enough to make you want to cover him in bubble-wrap every time he takes the floor. Perhaps it is the standard of greatness that has been set by last year’s championship, but most Warriors fans would agree this is only the beginning of something special. To keep pace with the level of excellence that can be reached is heavily dependent on the health of Stephen Curry.
On Sunday in Game 4 of the First Round Playoffs against the Houston Rockets, Curry returned from a two game hiatus due to a mysterious lower leg injury suffered in Game 1 of the series. To this day, we still aren’t sure whether Steph hurt his ankle or his foot. Following the injury in Game 1 and subsequently missing the second half, Curry was in high spirits on the Warriors bench which left the common fan optimistic. Even without a healthy Curry, the Warriors still have a talented enough basketball team to beat the lowly, uninspired Rockets. Nonetheless any Curry injury leaves a true GSW fan at least a bit concerned. So finding out that he would be back in the starting lineup for Game 4 was music to our ears. In that game we watched Curry struggle offensively for a half of basketball only to see him hobble off the court in pain once again before the half, after slipping on a wet part of the court late in the second quarter. Since then, Curry has been diagnosed with a Grade 1 sprain of the medial collateral ligament in the knee, an injury that will keep Steph out at least 2 weeks. Thus, the realization that sometimes the basketball gods just aren’t on your side.
In basketball, when significant injuries happen to star players, it’s easy to forget that it’s a team sport. Even with a star of Stephen Curry’s caliber, who also happens to be a reigning MVP, this is a team sport and the Warriors have accomplished quite a bit. The Warriors are returning to the playoffs as last year’s NBA champions, with a historic 73–9 win-loss record this regular season, and Steph surely didn’t get that done all by himself. So why then is everyone so worried about the Warriors’ chances without him? It’s because this Warriors have risen to the top so fast and accomplished so much in such a small period of time that it makes them seem almost invincible. And a big portion of that invincibility was built on the steady legs of #30 of the Golden State Warriors. Well, he is not invincible. The Warriors are not invincible. They are only mere mortals just like the rest of the teams in the NBA. They too can experience bad luck. The good news about Curry’s injury is that he may only miss 2 or 3 games in the second round of the playoffs, assuming the Steph-less Dubs can get past Houston. The bad news is that this is the NBA playoffs, and 2 or 3 straight losses in a second Round series may be too much to rebound from. All I know is that this is an opportunity for this team to show exactly what the meaning of “Next Man Up” really means. With all the success of the Warriors this year, it means absolutely nothing without another Larry O’Brien trophy. So, go show ’em what you got fellas!