The Golden State Warriors open a second stretch this season without All-Star guard Stephen Curry when they host the Oklahoma City Thunder on Monday night at San Francisco.
Curry left Saturday’s 119-113 home win over the Dallas Mavericks after clashing knees with McKinley Wright IV late in the third quarter while defending in the key.
The two-time MVP limped immediately to the bench, then to the locker room, where X-rays were negative.
An MRI on Sunday revealed Curry has partially torn tibiofibular ligaments in his left knee, according to multiple reports, and is expected to be out through next week’s All-Star break.
The Warriors’ Draymond Green noted after Saturday’s game that he talked to Curry and was optimistic his teammate would be back soon.
“He’s the heart of the team,” Green said. “We definitely don’t need him to be injured going into the second half (of the season). But he said he’s good.”
Curry missed 11 games bridging December and January with a dislocated left shoulder. The Warriors went 6-5 in a home-heavy portion of the schedule that time.
This time, Golden State will be off for eight days in the middle of February because of the All-Star break, with five games remaining until then. The Warriors will play three of those five at home, with road games at Portland and Los Angeles (Clippers).
Golden State got a reminder of what playing without Curry can be like when it was outscored 35-21 while its leader was off the floor for the final 14 minutes against the Mavericks. Curry had already contributed 21 points to what was then a 98-78 lead.
The Warriors’ matchup with the Thunder will be the second in eight days between the teams. Curry had 38 points and 12 assists in a 128-120 win at Oklahoma City last Monday.
The Thunder have played just twice since, splitting a home-and-home series with the Houston Rockets. They won the rematch Saturday night at home, exploding for a season-best 153 points in a 32-point romp.
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, a candidate to replace Curry in the All-Star Game starting lineup, paced the win with 42 points. He has 30 or more points in six of his last seven games, including 31 against the Warriors last week.
The game at San Francisco will provide a homecoming of sorts for Oklahoma City rookie Jalen Williams, a 2022 first-round pick after a stellar three-year career at nearby Santa Clara. The Thunder will be playing at Golden State for the first time this season.
The Thunder already played at Sacramento, and one night before their Jan. 20 visit, Williams returned to Santa Clara to watch his Broncos take on BYU. He then had 13 points in a loss to the Kings the next night.
“It’s just fun being out there, going through everything for the first time, embracing the process of it all,” Williams said of his rookie season in the NBA. “There are a lot worse things you can be doing than playing basketball and getting money.”
Williams will join Gilgeous-Alexander at the All-Star Game festivities in Salt Lake City next week. Williams and Thunder teammate Josh Giddey were selected to play in the Rising Stars game next Friday night.
–Field Level Media