The Golden State Warriors are built to withstand almost anything that gets thrown their way, but it was still worrying to see star point guard Steph Curry go down with an ankle injury earlier this week.
While it shouldn't affect the Dubs' win-loss record much while Curry is out, it will be interesting to see how the other stars respond to Curry's absence in the coming days.
How long Curry is out remains to be seen, but at 20-6, the Warriors need to keep playing solid basketball to keep pace with the 19-4 Houston Rockets atop the Western Conference standings.
Fortunately for the Warriors, when one MVP goes down, another one can step up, as Kevin Durant is now expected to be the leader of Golden State until Curry can return.
Alongside fellow stars in Klay Thompson and Draymond Green, Durant faces the tough task of becoming the focal point in Golden State's offense. However, he's proven time and time again that he's up to the task.
Here are three ways Durant can work his way into the MVP conversation as Curry works his way back from the ankle injury:
His triple-double total will rise
In the Warriors' first game without Curry, Durant rose to the occasion, scoring 35 points, grabbing 11 rebounds and dishing out 10 assists.
Without Curry in the mix, Durant will have the ball in his hands more often and will be counted on to make plays, both on his own and by getting his teammates in the mix.
Durant's 35-point triple-double against the Charlotte Hornets makes him only the second player (other than James Harden) to record a 35-point triple-double this year.
If he can continue doing things like that, he'll garner a lot more MVP consideration over the coming month.
He'll take on a bigger scoring load
So far this season, Curry is the Warriors' leading scorer, averaging 26.3 points per night. Durant, meanwhile, is scoring 25.1 points per game.
With more opportunities for Durant in Curry's absence, look for him to drastically increase that scoring total.
As mentioned above, he scored 35 points in the Dubs' first game without the star point guard, and numbers like that will likely become the new norm until Curry returns.
If Durant can get his average up into the 28-point range, he'll be within striking distance of a scoring title and have a better chance of earning the MVP honors.
He can keep the Warriors' winning streak going
The Warriors are currently on a five-game winning streak, but a tough test looms on Friday night, as the Warriors head to Detroit to take on a strong Pistons team.
However, after that game, the schedule gets a bit easier, with games against Portland, Dallas, the Los Angeles Lakers (twice), Memphis and Denver remaining before a Christmas Day showdown with the Cleveland Cavaliers.
If Durant can lead the Warriors to wins in each of those games and enter Christmas with a 12-game winning streak going, that would be quite the impressive task.
Durant is on the outside looking in of the MVP picture right now, but if he continues to shine without Curry on the court, he could take home some serious hardware at the end of the year.