A routine play, simply playing transition defense at half court, will cost Golden State guard Stephen Curry at least two weeks.
Following an MRI conducted Monday morning, it was revealed the reigning MVP will miss at least two weeks as he recovers from a Grade 1 MCL sprain in his right knee.
Once the two week period has concluded, team doctors will reevaluate Curry and determine if he will be healthy enough to resume on court activities.
Curry attempted to play in the second half, joining his teammates for warmups prior to the start of the third quarter, but was forced back into the locker room with pain in his right knee.
The injury was the second suffered by Curry since the start of the post season, as an ankle injury suffered in the series opener forced him to miss two full games before slipping Sunday afternoon.
Curry took to social media to express his gratitude for the outpouring of well wishes he has received as he begins his recovery process.
The loss of Curry is massive, as he is set to claim MVP honors for the second year in a row after leading the league in points per game (30.1), steals (2.1), free throw percentage (90.8), field goals made (805), 3-point field goals made (402) and was even more phenomenal according to advanced statistics.
He finished the year with a true shooting percentage of 66.9 percent, had a win share of 17.9 and his value above a replacement player was calculated as 9.8, all figures were the best in the NBA this season.
Curry even managed to post a PER of 31.5, the eighth highest figure ever recorded in league history.
Each of his contributions played a vital role as the Warriors claimed 73 victories during the regular season, the most any team has ever tallied in a single season.
Golden State has an opportunity to advance to the Western Conference semifinals Tuesday night with a Game 5 victory over the Rockets, perhaps buying the team a few days of extra rest before taking on the winner of the Clippers-Trail Blazers series.
According to the NBA’s post season schedule, the second round isn’t slated to begin until May 2, but it could start earlier if both teams advance swiftly.
Los Angeles wouldn’t have the ability to advance until Wednesday, if it manages to win Game 4.
The Western Conference finals is tabbed to begin May 17 and the NBA Finals to start on June 2.
If the schedule were to hold true, there would be a period of 6-8 days until the semifinals begin, 21-23 days until the start of the Western Conference finals and 38 days until the championship round would tip off.
The Warriors have managed to push Houston to the brink of elimination even though Curry has been limited to just 38 minutes in the series.
If it weren’t for a missed call — one the league later acknowledged should have been called — Golden State could have completed a series sweep Sunday afternoon.
During the final possession of Game 3, Rockets guard James Harden created enough space to launch his game-winning jumper by shoving Andre Iguodala, leaving Golden State just 2.7 seconds to issue a response.
The Warriors failed to score on the final possession of the game, only to have the league issue a statement addressing the failure of the officials to call the foul on Harden.
The absence of Curry has enabled Golden State’s other All-Star guard, shooting guard Klay Thompson, to thrive.
After four playoff appearances, Thompson is tied for fourth with 12 made 3-point field goals, while leading the team in scoring at 22.5 points to go along with 4.5 rebounds, 4.0 assists and 1.5 steals per game.
The team has proven capable of winning without Curry, but with each advancement in the post season, the opponent becomes much more fierce.
Golden State tried to prevent fatigue from becoming a factor for Curry, resting him during the entire fourth quarter 17 times during the regular season, but a wet spot on the floor severely altered their trajectory towards a second straight championship.
A year ago, Clippers coach Doc Rivers called the Warriors title run lucky, as the team didn’t have to play his team, or the Spurs, and was matched up against an opponent playing with a depleted roster from injury.
If Golden State can find a way to repeat, there will be little question about their place in history.