When Pat McCaw went up for a layup on Saturday night against the Kings, it looked like any old play. The second-year guard cut to the hoop, elevated, and gave the Golden State Warriors an 88-69 lead over Sacramento. After that, however, things got scary.
Kings veteran Vince Carter brushed into McCaw while he was still airborne, and the guard fell awkwardly onto his back as his leg twisted beneath him. McCaw barreled and writhed across the floor, screaming in pain. He stayed on the ground for 10 minutes as medical staff stabilized his neck and placed him on a stretcher to be escorted to the hospital.
According to Warriors PR, initial tests were all clear for McCaw. On Sunday, Yahoo Sports’ Shams Charania reported that the MRI results “returned structurally sound,” though there is no timetable yet for his return.
Warriors coach Steve Kerr was livid in the immediate aftermath of the fall, and television cameras captured him focusing his ire at Carter. “God damn it,” he yelled towards a person off-screen (likely an official), “I’m not mad at you. I’m mad at Vince. He knows better.”
The anger was temporary, and Kerr soon went to console Carter as he stood near the fallen McCaw.
“Vince felt awful and Pat was in extreme pain,” Kerr said after the game.
Carter would later tell reporters that he heard McCaw say that he “couldn’t feel his lower half” after the fall.
Carter visited the Golden State locker room after the game to apologize to McCaw’s teammates and coaches. Warriors forward Kevin Durant told reporters he didn’t think the play was malicious.
The Warriors have been plagued by injuries for much of 2018. Starting guards Steph Curry and Klay Thompson have both been sidelined for weeks, and McCaw had been given more playing time as a result.
The NBA playoffs start in two weeks. Kerr has already said that there is “no way” Curry will be playing in the first round. However, on Thursday, the Warriors coach said in a radio interview that, “if these were the playoffs right now, Steph would be playing.”
The Warriors will no doubt be hoping for a similarly optimistic evaluation of McCaw.