Sitting out just his third game of the Golden State Warriors prolific and record-breaking season, point guard and reigning NBA MVP Stephen Curry might have given the Bay Area a few unseemly heart palpitations after he sat out Tuesday’s victory over Atlanta with a sore left ankle.
According to reports, Golden State fans can expect Curry back in the lineup for Thursday’s matchup against the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Warriors guard Stephen Curry (ankle) expects to play Thursday vs Thunder.
— Marc J. Spears (@SpearsNBAYahoo) March 2, 2016
However, its also important to note that Golden State has officially listed Curry as questionable prior to the game. Curry originally rolled the ankle against Oklahoma City last Saturday, but returned after it was re-taped to fire off the game-winning three-pointer in overtime.
Golden State’s strong chances of defending its title, as well as its tacit pursuit of the best regular season record in NBA history, begin and end with Curry’s health and it’s not as if the worries were without cause.
The 27-year-old Curry labored through ankle injuries in the early stages of his career. He missed eight games due to right ankle problems during the 2010-11 season, his second in the league, and required surgery the following summer.
Curry then appeared in only 26 games in the strike-shortened 2011-12 season, which led to rampant speculation about his durability and longevity of his career.
Golden State can take solace in how Curry’s responded ever since. Since 2012 Curry’s missed a combined 13 games, garnering three All-Star berths, an MVP trophy, and the Warriors first championship in four decades.
Curry’s not only leading the NBA in scoring at a career-best 30.7 points per game, he’s already surpassed his own record of most three-pointers in a season by nailing 288 and there’s a lot of games left.
The Warriors certainly have guard Klay Thompson and forward Draymond Green to carry the offensive load if Curry were to miss a long stretch, and they did against Atlanta, but Curry’s the fuel and the structure of the engine that’s driven Golden State to the top of the NBA mountain and on the precipice of greatness.
With 23 games remaining in the regular season, the Warriors need 18 more wins to tie the 1995-1996 Chicago Bulls all-time mark of 72-10 or 19 wins to surpass it.