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Stephen Curry opts out of 2016 Olympics in Rio, citing need to recover from knee injury

Curry has played through a bevy of injuries this postseason, and has decided to forgo the Olympics to fully recover.

Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Stephen Curry already made one valiant comeback this summer, returning to action after an intense injury-scare that (seemingly, at the time) left the Warriors' playoff hopes in tatters. Though still not fully recovered, Curry has led his team to the precipice of NBA history, as the Warriors have a chance to finish off the Cleveland Cavaliers in the Finals, further staking their claim as the "best team of all time."

But with all that exertion, and after fighting through a thousand screens, Curry needs a break.

According to the Bay Area News Group's Marcus Thompson, Curry has decided not to play for team USA in the 2016 Summer Olympics in Brazil.

From Thompson's article in the Mercury News:

According to multiple sources, Curry has already told USA Basketball he will not be playing for a gold medal. He will instead let his right knee heal.

This is good news for the Warriors, who usually like their players in these high-profile opportunities because it helps the overall brand. It's a smart move by Curry, who is piling on the mileage now that the Warriors are champions.

More than anything, this confirms that Curry is indeed playing injured. He has slowly worked himself back into shape, but this is the first definitive evidence we've heard that he's still not quite 100%.

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Stephen Curry is not the only player considering pulling out of the 2016 Olympic games. For other star players, including Pau Gasol, LeBron James, Andre Iguodala, and Russell Westbrook, there is a deeper concern driving their unease about playing in Brazil.

From Thompson again:

According to sources, players have been advised to not bring their families to Brazil and to sleep in malaria nets to avoid being affected [with the Zika virus]. That raised red flags among some players.

Pau Gasol has already publicly expressed his concerns may keep him from playing for Spain. One source connected with NBA players said LeBron James and Russell Westbrook are also considering pulling out.

Pau Gasol has perhaps been the most vocal of the bunch, as he told the Associated Press, ""It wouldn't surprise me to see some athletes deciding not to participate in the games to avoid putting their health and the health of their families at risk."

He went on to say, ""We need to understand the seriousness of the situation. Even though there are some soothing words being said, we know that there are different opinions about the subject."

It's a scary situation, and one that demands a close eye. More than 150 health specialists from around the world have demanded that the games be either postponed or moved to another site as Zika has spread. However, seemingly flying in the face of common sense, the World Health Organization rejected their suggestion and said that cancelling the games would not "significantly" deter the spread of the Zika virus.

From the full WHO statement (on May 28, 2016):

Based on current assessment, cancelling or changing the location of the 2016 Olympics will not significantly alter the international spread of Zika virus. Brazil is 1 of almost 60 countries and territories which to date report continuing transmission of Zika by mosquitoes. People continue to travel between these countries and territories for a variety of reasons. The best way to reduce risk of disease is to follow public health travel advice.

WHO advises pregnant women not to travel to areas with ongoing Zika virus transmission. This includes Rio de Janeiro. Pregnant women's sex partners returning from areas with circulating virus should be counselled to practise safer sex or abstain throughout the pregnancy.

The WHO went on to recommend that visitors stay in air conditioned rooms, refrain from "visiting areas in cities and towns with no piped water or poor sanitation (ideal breeding grounds of mosquitoes), where the risk of being bitten by mosquitoes is higher," and (most disturbingly -- for me, anyways) to potentially "abstain from sex during their stay and for at least 8 weeks after their return."


What with superstar athletes dropping out, neurological viruses carried by mosquitos, water venues filled with sewage, and political unrest all across Brazil, there is a decidedly sinister feeling in the air ahead of these Olympic games.

You can follow the author on twitter, or on his non-basketball blog, Rake and a Drifter.

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