For those of who not big NBA fans, the story this year – decade? – has been the utter dominance of the Golden State Warriors. The Warriors broke the Chicago Bulls record for most wins this season. That 1995-96 Chicago team was fronted by…um…The Worlds Best Basketball Player of all Time (Im from Chicago. Im completely objective, however): Michael Jordan (who, uh, recently became the first athlete billionaire of all time, btw, but no big deal). The Warriors are a very different team than that Bulls’ team, though. Why? Largely due to a slight, small, loose kid from a mid-tier college: Steph Curry.
An Unlikely Leader
This years Warrior team in a way revolutionized basketball by this lithe, little point guard. I mean, Jordan was really the guy who revolutionized the sport forever and the first to do the from-the-free-throw dunk, which people have done but never looking as artistically beautiful, but . No, Steph Curry – who also happens to be back-to-back MVP and the only NBA player to win the award unanimously – and his crew are special in a different way. They just can, just, well, MAKE ANY SHOT THEY WANT. Its absurd! No ones ever seen anything like it (as with Jordan gliding, avoiding, mid-air four defenders at the hoop, extending basketball on descent, with a final little flip in a pocket of air as seen on Come Fly With Me, which still, to be honest, is really…WOW). Curry shattered his own record for three-point field goals made in a season with an obscene 402 of them. Made. I think the entire Detroit Piston team ATTEMPTED less than that.
Yes. This kid can pretty much score whenever he wants to. He does it from anywhere on the court, too (picture a stodgy, cigar-chomping sportswriter talking, now. Like The Sportswriters on TV circa ’80s in Chicago, that is). If you watch a Steph Curry highlights reel, what seems like desperation shots are just Curry deciding that – eh, why not? – hell score three-quarters out. Whatever.
Thats why when Curry went down with an injury to his knee, the impact in Northern Cali was seismic (pun intended, though not sure that worked). Cue the doctors!
A Sports Doctor Breaks it Down
Orthopedics are often called Sports Doctors because of the regularity with which they treat sports-related injuries. One Sports Doctor – Dr. David Geier – runs a nifty blog on being an orthopedic surgeon, focusing on sports injuries. Dr. Geier recently wrote a post about Currys injury when it first happened. He described what it was, how long it usually takes to recover, and so on. So as Grade 1 MCL injury was on the tips of sports announcers Steven A. Smith (loudly), Skip Sanders (vituperatively), and Michael Wilbon (Chicago writer. Good man.), we Barcalounger specialists debated the relative weight Grade A means (all information received through major media sources).
Breakin’ it Down, Grade A Style
Basketball requires a lot of cutting motions from the lower body. You move side to side at break-neck speed in order to dupe your defender, get past her/him, go near the rim to score or get the defense to collapse, or gang up on you so you can dish the ball to an open spot-shooter.
Further Explanation of The Injury
If a knee is healthy – strong muscles supporting the ligaments that stabilize it – the MCL can usually handle cutting. However, Curry hit a wet spot on the floor. The loss of balance underneath him caused a loss of stability, which caused his knee to collapse inward.
The grades associated with the injury relates to severity. An impact to the outside of the knee happens often in sports. Dr. Geier writes, an impact forces the knee to buckle inward with the ankle outside relative to the knee…[as] in football when an opponent hits a player on the outside of the knee.”
What’s Up Now, Doc?
So, what can be done? Geier states, Treatment requires the athlete to wear a brace that protects against side-to-side stress….Team doctors might [also] consider injecting platelet-rich plasma (PRP) to help the ligament potentially heal faster. Well save platelets for another post.
When Currys injury was diagnosed as a sprain, fans breathed a bit more easily; a sprain is less severe than a tear. When the sprain was then diagnosed Grade 1, fans got their color back. Grade 1 is the mildest of the three numerals. Does this mean, though, when Curry returned to lose Game 1 in the Conference Finals to the Oklahoma City Thunder last night, he was fine? Not completely.
The Importance of Healing
The challenge in trying to return [after an injury] quickly is that the MCL is crucial to providing knee stability while the athlete cuts and pivots to change direction,” says Dr. Geier, “For a guard whose game is largely predicated on beating defenders off the dribble and stopping suddenly to launch 3-pointers, this injury could be very limiting.
In other words, both of Currys threats may have been compromised. It would be simplistic to blame his injury on the loss, but injuries do play a factor fans don’t realize.
Like You Know Better Than They Do
So, hey! fans! Go easy on those sports doctors and injured pros! Though they seem to be indestructible and magicians, athletes aren’t supermen and doctors medical divinity.
Im just sayin.
- What Is the Impact of the Injuries to Steph Curry, Chris Paul and Blake Griffin? Dr. David Geier – Sports Medicine Simplified. April 28, 2016. Accessed April 29, 2016. http://www.drdavidgeier.com/injuries-steph-curry-chris-paul-blake-griffin/.
- Grade I Sprain of the Medial Collateral Ligament (MCL). 2015. Accessed May 16, 2016. https://www.rcmclinic.com/patient-info/knee/diagnosis/59-knee-diagnosis/84-grade-i-mc l-sprain.
- Thunder vs. Warriors – Game Preview – May 16, 2016. Accessed May 16, 2016. http://espn.go.com/nba/preview?id=400876750.