Stephen Curry Could Miss Beginning of Round 2 Because of Knee Injury

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistApril 20, 2018

Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry (30) warms up before Game 3 of a first-round NBA basketball playoff series against the San Antonio Spurs on Thursday, April 19, 2018, in San Antonio. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)
Eric Gay/Associated Press

The Golden State Warriors and New Orleans Pelicans are each one win away from sweeping their first-round series, which could create a problem for the defending champions.

According to Marcus Thompson II of The Athletic, Stephen Curry "is still not close to playing" as he recovers from a Grade 2 MCL sprain. The two-time MVP will be evaluated Friday but "isn't in the final stages of his rehabilitation."

With the respective first-round series being on the brink of ending, the second-round matchup between the Warriors and Pelicans could start as early as April 28. Thompson suggested Curry may not be ready by then.

Chris Cwik of Yahoo Sports noted Curry was initially expected to miss between four and six weeks, and the six-week mark would set him up for a return around May 4.

The silver lining for the Warriors is the fact they haven't missed much of a beat in the postseason without their sharpshooter. They have handled the Spurs by double digits in each of the first three games in their series and clearly have more talent with Kevin Durant, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green going up against a squad missing Kawhi Leonard.

However, things figure to become tougher as early as the second round, when Golden State figures to face a Pelicans team featuring Anthony Davis and Jrue Holiday.

As talented as the other three All-Stars are, the Warriors are a much more formidable team with Curry on the floor. His presence as a lethal outside shooter forces opposing defenses to stretch further to the outside, which opens up cutting lanes for himself and others and takes double teams away from Durant.

It is no coincidence the team's offensive rating was a head-turning 120.4 when he was on the floor this season and 106.1 when he was off it, per NBA.com.

Even with the other talent on the roster, the Warriors will likely need a healthy Curry in the later rounds with potential matchups against the Pelicans, the top-seeded Houston Rockets and perhaps the eventual Eastern Conference champion looming.

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