Golden State Warriors star Stephen Curry will be out of the lineup with a left shoulder subluxation (i.e. a partial dislocation), the team announced on Thursday. While the Warriors have not released an official timeline for his return, The Athletic’s Shams Charania reported that Curry will be sidelined for at least two weeks. Curry will not require surgery and is expected to return to the court in about a month, Charania reported during an appearance on Bally Sports.
ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski first reported that Curry would miss a few weeks.
Speaking to reporters on Friday, Curry declined to give a timeline, noting that this is the first time he’s suffered the injury. He said he was glad to avoid surgery and does not know if a procedure will eventually be necessary during the offseason.
“From what I know about shoulder injuries and situations like that, any time you can avoid surgery or anything like that its great news,” Curry said. “It’s the first time I’ve done it and those usually take a little longer than if it’s a recurring thing. Just gotta trust the plan that we have and do my work.
“Back end [of the recovery] should be a lot quicker than the front end from what I’ve been told. Hard to say [exactly how long I’ll be out] because it’s the first time I’ve done it. Just knowing it’s the first time I try to stay away from even me mentally trying to predict how long it’s gonna be. They’ll let me know.”
Curry added that it was a benefit that he injured his left shoulder rather than his right, given that he’s a right-handed shooter.
“Knowing that it’s left is definitely fortunate in that respect,” Curry said. “Kind of the same thing when I broke my hand. More of like a feel thing, confidence that I can still shoot the ball, but I don’t think it helps you come back any quicker.”
Curry left the Warriors’ 125-119 loss after hurting his shoulder in the third quarter. On the preceding play, Curry missed a 3-pointer and the long rebound led to a Pacers fast break. As Jalen Smith went to the basket, Curry reached for a steal and hurt his shoulder in the process.
Curry immediately grabbed his shoulder. He was in enough pain for the Warriors to call a timeout, after which he went to the locker room. The team ruled him out for the remainder of the game, but he still finished with with 38 points, seven rebounds and seven assists. Golden State coach Steve Kerr told reporters that he’d get an MRI on Thursday and the team would “hope for the best.”
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The defending-champion Warriors are 10th in the West and 14-15 on the season. Now they’ll be without their franchise player, who is again playing at an MVP level. To say this is a setback would be an enormous understatement. Golden State has scored 120.8 points per 100 possessions with Curry on the court, according to Cleaning The Glass, and has mustered a dismal 103 per 100 without him in non-garbage-time minutes. It has outscored opponents by 8.4 points per 100 possessions with Curry on the court, and it has been outscored by 9.8 per 100 without him, per CTG. He has always had incredible on/off numbers, but this year’s team is particularly top-heavy — it has the league’s worst bench, in terms of aggregate net rating, and its starting lineup has been dominant.
The Warriors have four games remaining on their road trip — Philadelphia, Toronto, New York and Brooklyn — before hosting the Memphis Grizzlies on Dec. 25. That Christmas Day game, which just lost much of its luster, is the beginning of an eight-game homestand, in which Charlotte, Utah, Portland, Atlanta, Detroit, Orlando and Phoenix will also visit Chase Center. If Curry is re-evaluated in exactly two weeks, as The Athletic reported he would be, then that would take place in between the Utah and Portland games.
With Curry out of the picture, guard Jordan Poole will assume more playmaking responsibility and presumably remain in the starting lineup when Andrew Wiggins returns from his adductor injury. Poole has been more aggressive, productive and efficient as a starter than as a reserve this season, as evidenced by his per-36-minute splits: 27.7 points (on 58.4 percent true shooting), 4.9 assists, 3.7 turnovers when in the starting lineup; 19.4 points (on 52.9 percent true shooting), 6.4 assists, 4.0 turnovers when coming off the bench.
Curry’s absence will also likely mean backup guard Ty Jerome will see regular minutes. Jerome has been on the fringes of Golden State’s rotation since signing a two-way contract just before the start of the season.