Los Angeles: All-star point guard Stephen Curry suffered a left knee strain in his first game back from an ankle injury as the under-manned Golden State Warriors beat the Atlanta Hawks 106-94 on Friday.
But no one wanted to talk about the win: all the focus narrowed on the health of two-time MVP Curry, who was injured when he collided with team-mate JaVale McGee under the basket.
Curry had just returned from a six-game absence due to an injured right ankle only to go down again.
“It is kind of a strange cruel twist of fate,” said Warriors coach Steve Kerr.
The Warriors said Curry sprained his medial collateral ligament and was scheduled for an MRI on Saturday.
“It’s a little somber in there. Everybody feels for Steph,” Kerr said. “He’s in good spirits. I did talk to him. He’s disappointed. That’s part of it.”
Curry’s latest injury just adds to the woes for the beat-up defending NBA champions.
Golden State was already without Kevin Durant who suffered a rib-cartilage injury last week. Curry’s backcourt sidekick Klay Thompson is rehabbing a fractured right thumb, and Draymond Green suffered a pelvic contusion in the Warriors’ loss on Monday at San Antonio.
On Friday, Curry scored 29 points before spraining his knee in the second half. Curry frowned as he hobbled to the bench with 3:09 left in the third quarter.
He sat and put his head down before going to the locker room.
“Getting close to post-season, you don’t want to see nothing like that,” Nick Young said.
Curry had rolled the ankle at Atlanta on March 2 but initially kept playing before re-injuring it again.
In other games on Friday, LaMarcus Aldridge and the San Antonio Spurs outlasted the Utah Jazz 124-120.
Aldridge had a career-high 45 points, helping San Antonio overcome Donovan Mitchell’s 35-point performance.
“(Aldridge) was ridiculous and the previous two games, too,” San Antonio guard Manu Ginobili said. “He’s carrying us. He’s just saying, ‘OK, follow me guys and we’ll be OK.’
After losing three straight to fall out of a postseason position, the Spurs have won six consecutive games and beat the Jazz for the first time in four contests this season.
San Antonio sits in sixth place in the Western Conference with the same record as fifth-place New Orleans, a half-game behind Oklahoma City for fourth. Utah is eighth in the West.
Elsewhere, Marcus Morris scored 30 points and the Boston Celtics defeated the Portland Trail Blazers 105-100 to hand Portland its second straight loss after a 13-game winning streak. — AFP