Curry OK, calls fall to court scariest of career
Warriors star and NBA MVP Stephen Curry missed the equivalent of a quarter after taking a hard fall on his head, neck and back area near the basket in the second quarter of Monday night’s 128-115 loss to the Rockets.
The Warriors said that after a series of tests, it was determined Curry had no concussion symptoms; he did not undergo any X-rays. He returned and finished with 23 points in 31 minutes.
“I feel pretty good,” Curry said. “Just not how I envisioned the game going.”
The Rockets cut their deficit in the Western Conference finals to 3-1 with the win.
Curry said the fall wasn’t the worst of his career but called it the scariest.
“I was in the air for a long time — just trying to brace yourself,” said Curry, who according to the Warriors sustained a head contusion on the play.
Asked whether he would go out of his way to avoid seeing replays of the fall, Curry said he’d seen it, “and once was enough.”
Curry ran sprints in a hallway before walking back into the arena and returning to the bench with less than six minutes to play in the third quarter.
Curry got caught in the air on top of Houston’s Trevor Ariza on a play near the Rockets’ basket as Ariza went up for a shot, and he cascaded to the floor, nearly landing directly on his head, as he was unable to control his fall.
“I wasn’t exactly sure who it was; I was just trying to pump fake and get somebody off their feet,” Ariza said. “I didn’t know that he flipped over or whatever the case was. It wasn’t intentionally or anything like that; I was just trying to make a basketball play.”
Curry, who was called for a foul on the play, stayed on the floor for several minutes as he was attended to by medical staff with teammates and coaches looking on.
He then stood up with help and was escorted to the locker room, rubbing the side of his head with a dazed look as he walked down the hallway.
“It’s a scary thing, a scary situation,” Ariza said. “Both players were just trying to play hard and trying to make plays for their team, and unfortunately sometimes you get hurt. But he’s a tough kid and he came back out there and competed for his team.”
Curry had 11 points in 13 minutes when he left the game.
Warriors general manager Bob Myers was definitive that Curry did not have a concussion.
“If he did, he wouldn’t have played,” Myers said. “That’s a pretty hard line.”
Curry said he felt better than he had the other two times in his career when he had gone through the concussion protocol (Curry was diagnosed once with a concussion, in November 2013).
“I felt a lot better than I did those last couple times, so that was just good news on my end,” Curry said. “Rode the bike for a little bit, got my heart rate up and made sure it didn’t get worse, and ran up and down the hallway and all the balance tests and stuff like that.”
Curry added, “Once they said I was all right, I went out and played and tried to do what I could to help my team get back in the game.”
The NBA’s concussion protocol consists of a baseline of “brain function, via a neurological and cognitive assessment,” which is conducted in the preseason, then used as a basis of comparison for a player suspected of having a concussion.
The Warriors would not elaborate on the specific tests used or how a head-contusion diagnosis was determined.
Warriors doctor Bill Maloney and trainer Johan Wang declined to comment.
The 6-foot-3, 190-pound Curry won the MVP in a landslide over the Rockets’ James Harden after averaging 23.8 points, 7.7 assists, 4.3 rebounds and two steals per game this season.
He shot 48.7 percent from the floor and 44.3 percent from 3-point range. He already owns three of the five most prolific 3-point shooting seasons in NBA history.
Information from ESPN.com’s Marc Stein, Calvin Watkins and Ethan Sherwood Strauss, and The Associated Press was used in this report.