War­riors lose Curry to bro­ken hand

The Korea Times - - SPORTS -

SAN FRAN­CISCO (AP) — In a mat­ter of months, the once-un­beat­able War­riors have gone from a start­ing lineup fea­tur­ing five All-Stars to a cast of young­sters al­most no­body knows.

At least to start the sea­son they had sta­ples Stephen Curry, Dray­mond Green and Kevon Looney to lean on for lead­er­ship.

Now, Curry and Looney are hurt and Green is deal­ing with a balky back. And the War­riors have looked any­thing but dom­i­nant dur­ing a 1-3 start.

“It’s been a tough start for us on many lev­els, so we’re just try­ing to find our foot­ing,” coach Steve Kerr said. “This puts us in a tough spot, so we’ll as­sess it and go from there.”

Curry joined Splash Brother Klay Thomp­son as the lat­est side­lined star. The two-time MVP broke his left hand in a 121-110 loss to Phoenix on Wed­nes­day night and it re­mained un­clear a day later how long he might be side­lined, while Splash Brother Thomp­son could miss the en­tire sea­son re­cov­er­ing from July 2 surgery for a torn ACL in his left knee that he hurt in a Game 6 loss in the NBA Fi­nals that gave Toronto its first ti­tle. Curry un­der­went a CT scan Thurs­day but the team said it would have spe­cial­ists eval­u­ate the re­sults be­fore pro­vid­ing an up­date on his sta­tus.

How­ever long he is out, it hurts for far more than what he brings on the court. Curry’s pres­ence in the locker room pro­vides an ex­am­ple for the young War­riors, and he is their long­est-tenured player and their old­est at age 31. It will be up to play­ers like Rus­sell and Green to help keep things afloat for the time be­ing.

Many al­ready con­sider it a lost sea­son, with play­off hopes in the pow­er­ful West­ern Con­fer­ence grim at best. Golden State might in­stead be lin­ing it­self up for a lot­tery pick in next year’s NBA draft.

Still, Curry posted a smil­ing photo of him­self, with the hand heav­ily wrapped, Thurs­day on his In­sta­gram ac­count with the mes­sage: “Ap­pre­ci­ate all the love/texts/sup­port all that … Be back soon!”

The two-time MVP drove to his left de­fended by Kelly Oubre Jr. and, with Aron Baynes stand­ing solidly in the paint, try­ing to draw a charge. Curry leapt with the ball then came down head first land­ing awk­wardly on his hands to brace him­self from the court, with Baynes crash­ing onto Curry’s left hand. Curry gri­maced in pain grab­bing his hand then walked to the locker room with 8:31 left in the third quar­ter.

D’An­gelo Rus­sell has done this be­fore, forced to take on a far big­ger role just last sea­son be­cause of in­juries in Brook­lyn. And now the new Golden State guard must do it again with a sud­denly short-handed back­court. Rus­sell un­der­stands he faces a tall task.

“Def­i­nitely try­ing to take on that lead­er­ship role and con­tinue to get bet­ter ev­ery year with be­ing able to lead guys on what I see and what I’ve been through,” he said. “It’s def­i­nitely a sim­i­lar sit­u­a­tion, but it’s go­ing to be tougher. We’ve got a lot of young guys that are go­ing to be forced to ma­ture and step up, so I’m look­ing for­ward to it as well.”

AFP-Yon­hap

Stephen Curry, right, of the Golden State War­riors gri­maces after he was in­jured in the sec­ond half of their game against the Phoenix Suns at Chase Cen­ter in San Fran­cisco, Calif. on Oct. 30.

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