You can forgive Golden State Warriors fans for pinching themselves a few times during the first several months of the current NBA season. Their beloved Dubs are off to the team’s best start in decades, and appear to have finally turned the corner after a string of uninspired campaigns under Don Nelson and, in 2011, first year coach Mark Jackson.
Golden State’s point guard, Stephen Curry, is arguably the player most responsible for the team’s swift rise in Jackson’s second season. David Lee might have an argument as well, but Curry is the heart and soul of the team and the only reason the Warriors were comfortable trading a player as talented as Monta Ellis. As long as their young star remains healthy, Golden State is in good shape.
Well, about that…
CSNBayArea.com reported Tuesday that Curry was held out of practice after sustaining what appeared to be a minor knee injury during Sunday’s loss to the Denver Nuggets. Curry dressed, but did not partake in drills with his teammates, and Mark Jackson didn’t exactly guarantee Curry would play on Wednesday at home against the Miami Heat.
“We’ll see how he responds tomorrow and act accordingly,” Jackson told CSN Bay Area.
The only guarantee here is that Jackson’s words made more than a few Warriors fans squirm. Despite all of Curry’s potential and success, there has always been a Golden State contingent waiting for the other sneaker to drop, and for a serious injury to sideline Curry for a significant period of time. Stephen is coming off a season that saw him play just 26 games, and though he was totally cleared before this year began, you have to believe Jackson and the rest of management will be cautious when it comes to anything that could jeopardize Curry’s long-term future in the Bay Area.
More likely than not, the knee (at least as it stands now) is not a terribly concerning issue for either Curry or his team. After all, Curry returned to the floor after the initial tweak occurred, and was still the Warriors’ most effective player down the stretch. That’s not saying much considering Golden State allowed the Nuggets to rack up 37 points in the fourth quarter, but I think you get the point.
Still, if it’s lingering enough to limit Curry in between games, it’s something to keep in mind as the Warriors enter the meat of their schedule. How important is it to play Curry night after night if it might be putting dent after dent in his knee? Would it be wiser to give him a night off every now and then to make sure he’s 100 percent in time for the key games at the end of the year? These are questions Mark Jackson will have to answer if Curry continues to hold back, either in games or in practice.
Because Curry is so essential to Golden State, the answers to those questions could determine if the Warriors make the playoffs for the first time since 2007.