The Stephen Curry rolled ankle alert is becoming a thing again. In the first quarter of Golden State’s game vs. the Spurs on Thursday, Curry stepped awkwardly on Dejounte Murray’s foot after he landed amid the tight baseline quarters on a layup attempt, turning his right ankle and hobbling up the tunnel, where he stayed bent over for several tense moments.
After Curry shot and made his two free throws, he exited the game and retreated to the locker room. Shortly thereafter, TNT’s Rosalyn Gold-Onwude reported that the Warriors were calling it a “tweaked” ankle, saying Curry was in the back doing “functionality tests” and that his return to the game was TBD. If you saw the play, and the way Curry limped off, you knew he wasn’t coming back in the game.
Sure enough, it wasn’t long before Gold-Onwulde reported that Curry did not show enough in those functionality tests to be able to return, and he was ruled out. There is no timetable for his return yet, but rest assured the Warriors will be overly cautious with Curry. They’ve said time and again that their main goal is simply to go into the playoffs healthy and playing well, with the No. 1 seed out West being a distant third on the priority list.
As Slater points out in the tweet above, it’s not this particular ankle roll that is concerning for Curry and the Warriors, or any single ankle roll for that matter. The concern is that it keeps happening — to the same right ankle, to boot, which of course is the ankle that he had surgically repaired back in 2012 after repeated ankle rolls were genuinely threatening to derail his career before it really even got started.
Since that time, Curry has been one of the most durable players in the league, but quietly, the fear of hearing Curry and ankle roll in the same sentence will probably always exist. And now it’s happened four times in three months. This year has been marred by major injuries all over the league, starting with Gordon Hayward going down on opening night with that gruesome ankle/leg injury.
Kawhi Leonard has been out for basically the entire season with a quad that won’t heal, though he is reportedly set to return soon. After his MCL was surgically repaired, Jimmy Butler could be out until the playoffs, if the Wolves make it that far without him. Kristaps Porzingis is out for the year with a torn ACL. DeMarcus Cousinsis out for the season with a ruptured Achilles. Denver’s Paul Millsap missed 44 games with a torn wrist ligament. The list goes on and on.
The Warriors have had some nicks here and there, but have avoided anything serious. And again, this Curry injury doesn’t appear to be serious on its own. But when you start adding up the ankle rolls over the past three months, there’s no doubt it’s going to create some anxiety in Oakland. In many ways, it’s not the injury itself that causes that anxiety but rather having to wonder when it’s going to happen again.
In fairness, rolled ankles are part of basketball, everyone does it here and there, and Curry has proven that he can come back from these just like a regular player rather than one who has to walk on pins and needles. Let’s hope that continues to be the case.