Shortly after Stephen Curry suffered a Grade 2 MCL sprain of his left knee on March 23, Golden State Warriors coach Stever Kerr ruled the two-time NBA MVP out of the team’s lineup for the entire first roundof the playoffs.
Well, with the playoff picture cemented with the Warriors’ title defense beginning via an opening-round matchup against the San Antonio Spurs this Saturday (3 p.m. ET, ABC), people can’t help but wonder when will Curry return to the squad? According to ESPN, a Grade 2 MCL sprain typically sidelines players for about six weeks.
Although the Warriors, with All-Stars Kevin Durant, Draymond Green and Klay Thompson still active, shouldn’t have any trouble getting past the Spurs, who are expected to still be without Kawhi Leonard, they’ll likely need Curry’s services if they’re going to repeat as champions.
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That has everyone thinking, just how soon can Curry return to the Warriors in these playoffs? Here are some of the latest reports.
Curry hasn’t had any setbacks
Earlier this week, Curry joined the Warriors broadcast team and shared that his recovery is going on pace and as scheduled without any hiccups.
“I haven’t had any setbacks,” Curry said during the Warriors’ rout of the Phoenix Suns on Sunday night, as reported by NBC Bay Area. “That’s the positive. Every day has been something good, advancing the rehab process. I’m looking forward to making more progress as we get towards the playoffs.”
He added: "I'm just trying to get some rhythm, some strength back, some flexibility and range of motion ... the standard process when dealing with the knee.”
He’ll be reevaluated this weekend
Curry put up shots prior to that Warriors-Suns’ game and is slated to be reevaluated this weekend, according to The Mercury News.
We miss this. ? pic.twitter.com/ZeHsF9ElGW— Warriors on NBCS (@NBCSWarriors) April 9, 2018
Whether the Warriors sweep the Spurs or they win in a longer series, Curry’s rehab time will get pushed to five weeks, considering, second-seeded Golden State would host the winner of the (3) Portland Trail Blazers-(6) New Orleans Pelicans series in the Western Conference semifinals, beginning as early as April 28-29.
Keeping Curry out of that second series would extend his rehab time to at least seven weeks, with the Western Conference finals set to start as early as May 13-14. With Warriors point guard Quinn Cook playing solidly during the remainder of the regular season, averaging 14.3 points per game in April, perhaps the team should try to handle
Curry isn’t exactly a stranger to MCL sprains. In 2016, he missed two weeks before returning to the Warriors’ postseason lineup, but that was after suffering a Grade 1 MCL sprain. That’s the least severe category.
Dr. Ben Wedro, an emergency physician in La Crosse, Wisconsin and the man behind the DocTalk.net website, tells Metro that “the expected return to full activity [following a Grade 2 MCL sprain] is three to six weeks.”
In order for the Warriors to give Curry medical clearance to return and feel good about it, Dr. Wedro says “three things that have to happen.”
“The ligament needs to heal, the muscles need to get strong and then the brain needs to figure out where the leg is in relationship to the world and trust it … and that’s an unconscious thing,” he says. He adds that there isn’t any medical evidence that would suggest that rehabbing the full six weeks would aid Curry better than returning sooner and that it’s more of a matter of whenever the individual is ready to play. Based on these reports, if we had to guess, we think Curry would make his return early into the Warriors’ second playoff series.