Warriors relieved after Steph feared worst with leg injury


SAN FRANCISCO -- Any Steph Curry injury brings a somber tone to the Warriors and the rest of the NBA. For the second time this season, however, the Warriors can breathe a sigh of relief with their superstar sidelined. 

The Warriors on Sunday announced an MRI taken Saturday night showed Curry sustained partial tears to his superior tibiofibular ligaments and interosseous membrane, along with a contusion to his lower left leg when he exited their 119-113 win over the Dallas Mavericks at Chase Center with two minutes remaining in the second quarter. 

In layman's terms, Curry has partially torn (sprained) ligaments that secure the top of the tibia to the top of the fibula, and also a contusion (bruise) to the muscles in his lower left leg. 

Sources told NBC Sports Bay Area's Monte Poole that Curry will miss at least the next five games before the NBA All-Star break, and the Warriors are hopeful he can return shortly after the break. Their first game following the break is Feb. 23 against the Los Angeles Lakers at Crypto.com Arena.

Curry will be re-evaluated in a couple of days. Here's what matters most, though: His season is far from over. 

"The good news is he's going to be back," Steve Kerr said Sunday after Warriors practice. "We don't exactly know when, but it's not an injury that's going to keep them out for the season. He's going to come back this season and hopefully sooner rather than later, but we'll know more in a few days."

Kerr spoke with Curry on Saturday night after the MRI, and the results lifted both of them. Any time a player receives an MRI, especially one as great as Curry, the worst fears creep into your mind. Thoughts of being without Curry for months or longer were very much real. 

Curry, who might be the biggest optimist in the building, thought his season could have ended Saturday night at Chase Center. Speaking with Kerr, he made it clear how positive his mindset is right now. 

"The first thing he said to me was, 'The good news is I'm going to be back.' This is not season-ending, and that was his fear of going into the MRI. He's in really good spirits and I think the rest of the guys are, too.

"We'll keep on forging ahead."

Now, the focus turns to how the Warriors will respond to Curry's injury.

They've been here before, as recently as the middle of December through the start of January. Curry missed 11 straight games when he sustained a left shoulder subluxation. Golden State went 6-5 during that stretch and did more than enough to stay afloat in a congested Western Conference. 

In those 11 games, the Warriors averaged 115 points, shot 45.7 percent from the field and 35.7 percent from 3-point range without the greatest shooter of all time. Those numbers ranked 18th, 23rd and 19th in the NBA respectively. But their 15.5 made 3-pointers per game without Curry in those 11 games were the best in the league. 

During that span, the Warriors also ranked second in assists per game (29.2) and gave away the fourth-most turnovers (16.0).

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"I think that's the work that has to be done the next couple of days," Kerr said. "Really examining those schemes, the lineups. We'll have a full analytical report in terms of which combinations work best. Remember, we were without [Andrew Wiggins] for those games as well, so it doesn't match up perfectly.

"We'll have to make sure we're putting the guys in the best position to succeed and give them a roadmap for how we need to play, what we need to do to win games without him."

The work began Sunday in the Warriors' first practice after Curry's leg injury, before the real test comes Monday night against the Oklahoma City Thunder.

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