Stephen Curry's Knee Injury Likely to Keep Him out of 1st Round of NBA Playoffs

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistMarch 25, 2018

Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry (30) against the Brooklyn Nets during an NBA basketball game in Oakland, Calif., Tuesday, March 6, 2018. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)
Jeff Chiu/Associated Press

Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr has already ruled out point guard Stephen Curry for the team's first-round playoff series, saying "there's no way" Curry will suit up before the conference semifinals, the Washington Post's Tim Bontemps reported Sunday.

"Hopefully I prove coach wrong," said Curry upon hearing Kerr's comments, via Anthony Slater of the Atlantic. 

The Warriors announced Saturday that Curry has a sprained MCL and will be re-evaluated in three weeks.

Because of the timeline laid out by the team, Bontemps doesn't see Kerr's comments on their own as cause for concern:

Tim Bontemps @TimBontemps

I know everyone is reacting to what Steve Kerr said. However, Curry is being *re-evaluated* in three weeks. Expecting him to jump back in and play immediately was always a stretch. Start of second round is a much more reasonable target for a return.

If anything, Kerr's better off ruling out the possibility of Curry playing in the opening round. There's no reason to let that question linger between now and the start of the postseason.

The Warriors shouldn't need Curry to advance to the conference semifinals anyway.

Golden State would play the Minnesota Timberwolves if the season ended right now, and the Timberwolves are without their best player as Jimmy Butler had meniscus surgery in February. A matchup with the Utah Jazz or Kawhi Leonard-less San Antonio Spurs doesn't look that daunting, either.

For Kerr, this is about not making the same mistakes he did two years ago. Curry suffered a sprained MCL in the opening round of the 2016 playoffs. He came back after a little over two weeks but didn't look like himself for the remainder of the postseason.

Curry shot 40.3 percent from the field and averaged 22.6 points in the 2016 NBA Finals—down from 50.4 percent and 30.1 points in the regular season—as the Warriors squandered a 3-1 series lead against the Cleveland Cavaliers.

While Curry is clearly irreplaceable, rushing him back to the court will do more harm than good for Golden State.