BY MASON BISSADA
Warriors guard Steph Curry broke his left hand Wednesday night during the third quarter of a game against the Phoenix Suns. Curry was going up for a layup before he collided with Suns center Aron Baynes. Curry landed hand-first before Baynes landed directly on his hand at an awkward angle. ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne reported via Twitter that “Curry will get a CT scan on his hand before determining a timeline but initial diagnosis is he’s got a broken second metacarpal in his left hand.”
The injury came as a proverbial punch in the gut for fans who had already been proverbially punched in the face. The Warriors would go on to lose to the Suns 121-110, though they trailed by over 30 points at one point during the game. This drops their record to 1-3 on the season, including embarrassing 20-plus-point losses to the Clippers and Thunder. Combine this with Head Coach Steve Kerr stating that Klay Thompson is “unlikely” to play this season after suffering an ACL tear, and it isn’t surprising that many fans and media members were already writing Golden State off as a lottery team. Their only hope for turning their season around was for Curry to go supernova by carrying the team offensively. Now, it seems all hope is lost.
In terms of recovery, whether or not surgery is required is a big factor. If it is indeed required, a comparable recovery would be that of Russell Westbrook’s. Westbrook broke his right hand on October 30th, 2014. He underwent surgery two days later, and returned to the court 29 days after the surgery. This projection might be a bit rosey for Curry, as he is not the cyborg-like healer that Westbrook is known to be.
A month-long recovery might seem tolerable upon first glance, but that month could be a death knell for the Warriors’ playoff chances given their remaining talent. Curry is one of two above-average offensive creators in their lineup, and while D’Angelo Russell has shown some flashes of offensive prowess as a Warrior, he’s been a bit disappointing so far in his first four games.
In a loaded Western Conference, a month can make or break a season. If the Warriors were 1-3 with Curry, it is not absurd to think that they’ll go 4-12 or worse without him. If that is the case, Golden State’s season is essentially lost.
The Warriors’ coaching staff and front office seemed to be priming the media and fans for a sort-of bye-year even before this injury. Kerr’s comments about Thompson’s prolonged return and his reiteration that his team had lost its veteran basketball IQ sounded as if he knew that this season was a bit of a wash. Their current roster lacks depth and versatility (and talent) and the hard-cap restricts them from adding new pieces.
Perhaps this injury can act as confirmation. A nail in the coffin for a season that was already beginning to decay. If there was any pressure at all for Thompson to return early, it is now erased. Fans should now turn their focus to the young players, who are going to get all they can handle in terms of minutes. Expect Draymond Green to be load-managed, along with Curry himself when he does eventually return. There are still plenty of things to watch for this season, but playoff basketball is probably not one of them.