MCL sprain spoils Curry’s return, leaves Warriors in purgatory

Stephen Curry's return to the lineup was short-lived. (Stan Olszewski/Special to S.F. Examiner)

Stephen Curry's return to the lineup was short-lived. (Stan Olszewski/Special to S.F. Examiner)

Oakland — After the Golden State Warriors most meaningless win of the Steve Kerr era, Quinn Cook’s birthday cake sat untouched in the locker room. It wasn’t much of a night for a celebration.

Across the room, in front of Stephen Curry’s locker sat a big blue ice bucket, a pair of black Curry 5s and an assortment of laundry strewn nearby.

With just over three minutes to go in the third quarter of the eventual 106-94 win over the Atlanta Hawks, Curry’s evening came to an early end.

Amid a crowded lane, JaVale McGee went soaring into the air to block a shot, landing on Curry’s left leg, buckling his knee in the process.

Curry hopped around, exited the game and buried his face in his hands as Head Performance Therapist Chelsea Lane checked on his leg.

“I assumed it was his ankle when he came up hobbling,” Kerr said. “I found out it was his knee and we’ll see what the MRI says tomorrow. There’s not a whole lot we can do or predict.”

Curry disappeared down the tunnel with Lane. President of basketball operations/general manager Bob Myers was close behind. Then came Ayesha Curry, the two-time MVP’s wife.

Owner Joe Lacob, sitting in his customary courtside perch, had his arms folded in dismay. After the final buzzer Lacob was across the baseline and down the tunnel faster than most of the team,

“It’s kind of a strange, cruel twist of fate,” Kerr continued. “He rehabs his ankle for the last couple weeks, gets that strong and the knee goes. So, we’ll see what happens. We’ll keep the fingers crossed.”

Curry had just returned from six games out with a right ankle tweak. The playoffs begin three weeks from Saturday.

All four All-Stars are once again sidelined.

“We need a body. We need a body,” Myers joked to Kent Bazemore as the former Warrior turned Hawk hung out in the hallway near the locker room.

Kerr insisted he was staying positive amid the flood of injury woes. McGee, the player who unintentionally took out Curry, struck a different note.

“It’s like a juju or something on us. Like I’ve never been a part of a team where just everyone got injured, especially the starters. It’s really  kind of scary, to tell you the truth.”

By the end of the night, there were only five reserves left on the bench.

One of the defacto starters, Nick Young, keep it light.

“I told him, ‘Man, I didn’t come here for you to be hurt. So, you need to get right. I need to throw some champagne around a little bit,” Young said.

Young dropped 24 points on the Hawks, drilling 6 of 11 3-pointers. He was the second-leading scorer only to Curry who scored 29 in 25 minutes.

On Saturday after practice the MRI results will be in. Curry — and the Warriors — will have a better sense of what lies ahead. After the win, there was no sign of Curry, aside from the blue bucket, the shoes and the laundry. Kerr said Curry was doing as well as could be expected.

“He’s in good spirits. I did talk to him. He’s disappointed but it’s part of it,” Kerr said. “[We’ve] got to keep pushing and see how it goes tomorrow.

“He was disappointed, but all in all, he hanging in there.”

kbuscheck@sfexaminer.com

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