Sports

Is Steph Curry Hampered by a Lingering Injury? Let’s Investigate.

OAKLAND, CA - MAY 20:  Stephen Curry #30 of the Golden State Warriors reacts after a play against the Houston Rockets during Game Three of the Western Conference Finals of the 2018 NBA Playoffs at ORACLE Arena on May 20, 2018 in Oakland, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
What’s the diagnosis?
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

After Golden State’s blowout loss to the Houston Rockets in Game 2 of the Western Conference Finals, questions began to bubble up about Steph Curry. Namely, was the two-time MVP feeling the effects of the MCL strain he’d suffered in March, an injury that caused him to miss six weeks of playing time? Curry went seven-for-19 from the field and scored just 16 points during that contest, and head coach Steve Kerr was asked afterwards about the point guard’s health.

“I feel good. I feel good,” Curry told the Undefeated’s Marc J. Spears about the knee issue after the game. “It’s something that you can’t shake off because of how recent the injury was. But I’m out there. I feel great, and I’m not worried about anything with my knee.”

Sure, you can take his and his coach’s word for it, but if Curry felt so good, why did he go one-for- eight from behind the 3-point line on Wednesday? Curry was back in the starting lineup for Game 3 on Sunday, and while the Warriors won 126-85, we must examine whether or not their star guard looked healthy.

I’m no expert, but the following plays should give us some answers.

Curry gets lost on defense in the first quarter.

He didn’t exactly stay in front of his man there. I’m no doctor, but that looks like a Grade 2 MCL sprain compounded by atrophy brought on by the extended three-day rest between games. Again, I don’t have a medical degree, but I’d be willing to diagnose him without so much as looking at an MRI.

Gerald Green stuffs Curry at the rim.

Green isn’t known for his defensive prowess, nor is he a medical doctor, but I’d be willing to bet that he used the experience of blocking Curry’s layup to take an up-close look at how the Warriors star’s ligaments and tendons were behaving under stress. If Green’s 3-pointer in transition is any indication, the diagnosis was inconclusive-to-dire.

Steph sinks a smooth finger roll.

Quite the recovery. Perhaps it was just gas escaping the body, but that move looked like the Curry of old. I’m no gastroenterologist, but I’d like to perform a battery of tests to find out.

Harden cooks Curry with a move in the lane.

I’m no behavioral psychologist, but Curry’s reaction to this Harden hesitation move seems to represent a sensory-motor repertoire at odds with the emotional-motivational counter-repertoire. Alarming, to say the least.

Curry sinks a 3-pointer and shimmies.

I’m no allergist, but could the shimmy at the end be related to sinus irritation caused by mugwort proliferation? Perhaps a bee found its way into Oracle Arena?

Curry hesitates and uses a pump-fake to send Gerald Green flying.

Placebo effect? Due to strict FDA testing guidelines, we may never know.

Curry hits a 3-pointer from Mt. Diablo.

He looks totally fine and healthy to me, and the numbers back that up: Curry scored 35 points and posted a plus-minus of plus-24 in Game 3.

That’s a relief, but it raises an even more pressing question: What is ailing the Rockets? If I graduate from one of those 24-hour medical schools in time for Tuesday’s Game 4, I’ll let you know the diagnosis.