Draymond Green was absolutely right about what makes the knee injury Stephen Curry suffered during Game 4 so hard to grapple with: the uncertainty.
As of right now, we won't know the extent of the injury until he undergoes a MRI and might not know exactly how many games he'll miss or how exactly it will affect the team until much longer after that: the timing and length of the forthcoming series (after the Warriors eliminate the Rockets, which they will do) will obviously affect how significant this all becomes.
Beyond that, the chances of the Warriors repeating as champions hangs in the balance — is it reasonable to believe the Warriors can beat the L.A. Clippers or Portland Trail Blazers without this season's presumptive MVP?
There will be ample time to reflect on all of that, but let's take stock of what we do actually know for now.
What we know
Steph Curry injured his knee when he slipped on the floor while trying to defend Trevor Ariza during the last play of the first half.
Curry's injury begins when Harden & Motiejunas get tangled up. Then Curry tries to plant where Donatas's bu... https://t.co/xTdAiGq4Rq— J.R. Wilco (@jollyrogerwilco) April 25, 2016
First, it's probably worth noting that he did more than just bang his right knee on the floor as many people tried to frame that in the moment — before making any contact with the floor, his knee bent in a direction that knees are not really made to bend in (or at least a way that mine doesn't bend in).
Whatever happened in that moment, we know that Curry has a "sprained right knee" according to the official announcement.
Injury Update: Stephen Curry suffered a sprained right knee and will not return.— GSWStats (@gswstats) April 24, 2016
Second, although we were all justifiably concerned about his ankle in the moment, it's worth mentioning that this injury reportedly had no relation to his ankle. Of course, Curry is not a doctor and has been wrong before, but since I'm not a doctor and have been wrong before I'm going with what has been reported for now.
Curry told me right knee injury had nothing to do with his right ankle. Not an issue of over-compensating. Planted and slipped on court.— Rosalyn Gold-Onwude (@ROSGO21) April 25, 2016
Next, the Warriors went through the (unfortunately) increasingly familiar experience of Curry trying to convince people that he was ready to return to the game. After accepting that he would not be returning to the game, things got emotional, as reported well by Marcus Thompson of the Bay Area News Group.
Draymond Green put his arm around Stephen Curry and kneeled so he could reach the MVP’s ear. Curry was doubled over in tears in front of the Warriors’ bench. The frustration and disappointment was too much to bear. Head coach Steve Kerr rubbed the back of his star player while Green barked instructions to his friend.
Curry had just been told he could not go back in the game. Every bone in his body wanted to play but his ligaments overruled them. His ailing right knee wasn’t going to allow him to play. His crushed spirit wouldn’t going to wait for the privacy of the locker room.
"Get out of here," Green told Curry. "Don’t let them see you like this. Don’t let them see you cry. We will hold you down. We got this. We will win this for you."
It was quite a stunning moment, a moment that sent Warriors fans into a temporary state of panic and the most ignorant of tweeters into the depths of sexism to question Curry's manhood.
And, if you watched the game, you know exact what happened next — it was pretty much exactly as Ros Gold-Onwude predicted.
Curry said Livingston, Iguodala & Green spoke to him at halftime. And he felt his teammates had his back by how they played in the 2nd half.— Rosalyn Gold-Onwude (@ROSGO21) April 25, 2016
The Curry injury may emotionally charge Warriors...— Rosalyn Gold-Onwude (@ROSGO21) April 24, 2016
You can read plenty more about what happened on the floor from that point in Derek Knight's recap and Apricot's analysis from last night, but Thompson also added some insight about what happened after the game.
After the game, he was back to himself. His faith had kicked in. He was smiling and laughing with his teammates, downing a plate of food from Morton's Steakhouse, his swollen right knee peeking through the extensive tape job.
Curry made it here with a confidence best explained as delusion. A small, frail kid took over the NBA, and sports for that matter, because he believed against reason he could. He got to this level with a belief that belongs in antiquity.
And when you pursue with that kind of faith, the crash is that much harder.
Curry did eventually leave the Toyota Center under his own power, but did so with a limp.
Steph Curry just completed a group prayer before heading to team bus. pic.twitter.com/0assS7SGrS— Michael Lee (@MrMichaelLee) April 24, 2016
Sometime today, Curry will undergo a MRI to determine the extent of the injury.
MRI for Steph Curry tomorrow.— Rosalyn Gold-Onwude (@ROSGO21) April 24, 2016
What we can expect
We won't know specifics about this injury until the MRI is complete, but as of right now the most detailed reports suggest that Curry has a "sprained MCL", according to second hand reports from team doctors.
Right knee sprain for Steph Curry. Steph told Ros Gold Onwude that it's definitely not his ACL. The pain is in the area of his MCL.— Henry Wofford (@HenryWoffordCSN) April 24, 2016
The reason knowing that it's a "sprained MCL" is not particularly helpful is that we don't know what grade the injury is. But at the very least, it sounds like we can expect Curry to be out for 15 days, which is the average length of time players have missed with low grade MCL injuries this season.
There were at least 11 isolated MCL sprains this season in the NBA. Low grade sprains averaged 15 missed days & 7.2 games lost.— Jeff Stotts (@RotowireATC) April 24, 2016
Yet even without a MRI to determine the full extent of this thing, suffice it to say that it would really help the Warriors if they could push off the second round as long as possible.
Obviously, they don't want to play down a MVP any longer than they have to so it would behoove them to finish off the Rockets at home in Game 5. So that means the length of the Clippers-Blazers series takes on heightened importance and with the Clippers ahead 2-1 heading into tonight's game, Warriors fans really should be rooting for the Blazers.
Pretty obvious GSWs would love for Portland to beat LAC tomorrow, ensuring that series goes at least 6 games... https://t.co/xKElK2yS8b— Tim Kawakami (@timkawakami) April 25, 2016
Without getting too deeply into the details of playoff scheduling now, the Blazers have an opportunity to tie the series at 2-2 if they can win tonight, which means it would go at least six games. They could still push it to six (or seven) if they lose tonight, but going into Game 5 on the road down 3-1 is not a recipe for success. For tonight, you don't necessarily have to root for the Blazers because you want them to advance but solely because you want some assurance that Curry will have as much time as possible to begin the healing process in hopes that he can contribute to the Warriors' playoff run...however long it goes.