Golden State of the Warriors: a synopsis of the week that was, what’s ahead and how we should feel about the state of the team. The winds of change in the NBA are capricious, so a regular check-up on the squad, such as this, will help us all keep our bearings on the season. Join me, won’t you?
Stephen Curry’s Ankle: The Saga Continues
Since we last discussed the State of the Warriors, things have gotten a lot less Golden.
Against the Portland Trail Blazers last Friday, a decidedly unwelcome (but not unfamiliar) sight assaulted our eyes and struck at our hearts. Stephen Curry came up limping in the second quarter. The play was somewhat unusual, but not quite strange enough to justify the “freakish” label many are assigning it.
Depending on whose portrait of events you prefer, Portland’s Wes Matthews rolled up, kicked or stepped on Curry’s obviously unsound right ankle. Obviously still structurally unsound, the ankle buckled and rolled over. Curry immediately went into his familiar ankle-injury kata. You know the one. It includes a couple of quick hops on the good (a relative terms since both of Curry’s ankles have betrayed him) ankle, a low crouch and a game effort to jog off the pain.
But because everyone who’s been watching Curry for the last two years is intimately familiar with the details of his post-ankle-turn dance, we all knew what was happening. So did Mark Jackson.
Naturally, Curry’s coach put the kibosh on his return, despite Curry’s best attempts to persuade him he was fit to return.
Supposedly, it’s minor and supposedly he’d be able to play if this weren’t the preseason. Whatever.
With Curry, there’s no such thing as a minor ankle injury. They’re all major. When you’ve got a chronic condition that knocks you out of huge chunks of seasons, its recurrence simply cannot be significant.
The Double Ankle Exam
During Saturday’s practice, Dr. Richard Ferkel, the fine medicine man who opened up and (hopefully) fixed the ankles of both Steph Curry and Andrew Bogut, examined both of his patients.
And…gave us almost nothing.
Basically, neither player will play for the rest of the preseason. Curry should be able to give things a go for the season opener and Bogut might be ready. That’s just about where we’ve been all along. One positive takeaway is that Dr. Ferkel could have ruled Bogut out. He didn’t.
Even though Curry’s injury reminded us that these preseason games are meaningless in the grand scheme, it’s still worth noting a few trends as the regular season approaches.
First, the Warriors are very obviously trying to win every game they play. So far, they’ve failed in that effort just once—against the Denver Nuggets, a first-class outfit to whom the Warriors really should lose. Otherwise, the Warriors are winning (they beat the Kings and Blazers) by giving heavy minutes to their rotation players and keeping the Kent Bazemores and Jeremy Tylers on the bench.
Draymond Green has finally gotten off the trainer’s table and onto the court. And naturally, he did some Draymond Green things when he got a few minutes last week. Generally, he played intelligently, hustled, rebounded well at his position and continued to reinforce the notion that he belongs in the NBA even though he has no position.
He’s a lock to be a fan favorite.
The Warriors have two more preseason contests: tonight against the Clippers and Tuesday against the Suns. Some of the bloom’s off the preseason rose, given that neither Curry nor Bogut will see the floor. But the Clipper game looks to be a nice test, to the extent that a game that means nothing can be such a thing.
The Suns are horrible, and with the two teams slated to open the regular season eight days after their preseason tilt, don’t look for either squad to tip their hand from a strategic standpoint.