The Golden State Warriors received some good and bad news Tuesday regarding Stephen Curry's right ankle sprain.
An MRI revealed no structural damage and Curry will be re-evaluated in two weeks, the team announced. However, there is "significant swelling" in the ankle, sources told The Vertical's Shams Charania.
The Warriors, who have won four straight and sit comfortably in second place behind the Houston Rockets in the Western Conference Standings, will likely act very conservatively with their prized sharpshooter, and keep him out until the new year.
Curry stepped on Pelicans forward E’Twaun Moore’s foot and rolled his ankle while going for a late steal in a 125-115 comeback win Monday night in New Orleans, and left the arena using crutches and wearing a walking boot. He scored 31 points before the injury and notched his 2,000th career 3-pointer.
The 29-year-old has a history of ankle issues, but has been surprisingly durable over the past couple seasons, despite logging heavy minutes for the Warriors and enjoying several deep playoff runs. He's missed just 18 regular-season contests since the start of the 2012-13 campaign, but has shown some fatigue symptoms of late. Curry’s appeared in 56 playoff games over that span, and he's shooting a career-worst 38.1 percent from beyond the arc this season. However, this could be partially due to a right ring finger injury he suffered last month. Regardless, the additional time off should help heal any lingering effects from that injury.
Warriors coach Steve Kerr will now have the daunting task of appointing Curry's replacement in the starting five. Patrick McCaw, a second-year guard should see a spike in playing time, but Shaun Livingston, who usually commands the second unit, is the likely candidate to step into the role. Omri Casspi could also benefit from Curry's absence and play an increased role. Golden State, of course, still has plenty of firepower with Klay Thompson, Kevin Durant and Draymond Green to pick up the slack without Curry.
The Warriors should continue to cruise without Curry in the short term, thanks to a relatively easy schedule leading up to a highly-anticipated Christmas Day clash with the Cleveland Cavaliers. They'll play several Western Conference bottom-feeders over the next two weeks, including the Los Angeles Lakers (twice), Memphis Grizzlies, and Dallas Mavericks.
Curry, a two-time NBA champion and four-time All-Star, is averaging 26.3 points, 6.6 assists and 5.1 rebounds in 23 games this season.