With 9:12 left in the third quarter of the Golden State Warriors' win in Game 1 of the first round on Saturday, Stephen Curry left the game and did not return due to hurting his ankle.
Curry did eventually return to the bench after a check up and re-tape in the locker room, but coach Steve Kerr reportedly refused to play him again with the Warriors cruising toward a relatively easy 104-78 playoff win.
Saw Curry tweak his ankle. It was a flukey non-contact thing with nobody around him, right in front of the Warriors bench.— Carl Steward (@stewardsfolly) April 16, 2016
Now the question becomes whether Kerr and the coaching staff will choose to rest Curry in Game 2 on Monday against a clearly inferior opponent at home with a two day break before Game 3 in Houston.
Doubt GSWs can convince Curry to sit out Game 2, but they can afford to have him sit several games, if they want.— Tim Kawakami (@timkawakami) April 16, 2016
Several Warriors are not expecting Curry to play in Game 2. Not saying he won't play. But they are prepared to go without him— Marcus Thompson (@ThompsonScribe) April 16, 2016
Equation might be: If Curry is OK for Game 2, they can get this series over quicker, and then get that extra time off between rounds.— Tim Kawakami (@timkawakami) April 16, 2016
Kerr was absolutely right to hold Curry out of the game in the second half -- the Warriors clearly didn't need him to win and he was visibly limping around the court when he returned to the game. Along those lines, against a team that is clearly willing to resort to fighting when basketball won't help them win, there just doesn't seem to be much point in allowing Curry to push through the injury when he's not needed to compete against this team.
Steve Kerr absolutely did the right thing telling Curry "NO!" three times that he couldn't go back in the game with that injured right ankle— Michael Wilbon (@RealMikeWilbon) April 16, 2016
After the game, Curry seemed to take the injury and the physical altercation with Rockets guard Patrick Beverley in the first half in stride, clearly expressing that he was ready to get back in the game despite hurting the ankle but also that he is in wait-and-see mode over the next couple of days.
VIDEO: StephCurry on his ankle: "Right now it's not (as bad as injury vs Spurs). Hopefully it responds well" (0:41) https://t.co/5hbSQecPqa— LetsGoWarriors (@LetsGoWarriors) April 16, 2016
Curry said he was like a kid in timeout sitting on the bench— Marcus Thompson (@ThompsonScribe) April 16, 2016
Obviously Curry wants to play, but if he's feeling any pain in that ankle right now, wouldn't it be wiser to preserve him for the remainder of the playoff run?