HOUSTON – It looked horrible, the sight of Stephen Curry going airborne and landing on his head/neck area and staying on the floor for several minutes.
But after leaving Game 4 of the Western Conference Finals Monday night, the Warriors point guard and league MVP insisted the helplessness experienced during the fall was much scarier than any physical after-effects.
“It was all minor stuff compared to how it looked,” Curry said after the Warriors suffered a 128-115 defeat to the Rockets at Toyota Center. “But I’ll get some good rest tonight and be ready to go. Since it happened until now, nothing has gotten worse. I expect that to continue in the hours leading up to Wednesday.”
Curry was attempting block a shot by Rockets forward Trevor Ariza midway through the second quarter when Ariza ducked and hung onto the ball, with Curry glancing off his shoulder and descending, head over feet, to the floor with a thud.
There was for a brief moment an eerie silence from the crowd and visible anxiety from everyone connected to the Warriors. The entire roster, sensing serious injury and perhaps concussion, rushed to check on Curry as he was down.
“That’s always scary,” coach Steve Kerr said. “A guy hits his neck, you worry about that. So we were all over there out of concern. And then, fortunately, he was up, came back into the locker room with the doctors and we played out the half.”
With 5:52 left in the half, Curry walked into the locker room with some minor assistance and was examined. X-rays were negative and he passed a battery of tests, including NBA concussion protocol. After loosening up in the bowels of the arena, returned to the game with 5:58 left in the third quarter.
“I was taking my time, to be honest with you,” Curry said of his time off the floor. “Because I wanted to make sure I was OK and not put myself in danger for the rest of the series if it wasn’t right for me to go back out there.
“I listened to all the advice and did all the tests I needed to do and stayed patient with it. And once I got the sign-off from the athletic trainers and the team doctors . . . obviously, I wanted to play, but I wanted to make sure the process was gone about in the right way so there would be no second-guessing once I got back on the floor.”
Curry played 31 minutes, 13 in the first half and 18 after returning in the second. He finished with 23 points and four assists.
His first half numbers: 11 points on 3-of-7 shooting, all from beyond the arc, with two free throws and zero assists.
His second-half numbers: 12 points on 4-of-11 shooting, 3-of-6 beyond the arc, with three free throws and four assists.
[INSTANT REPLAY: Curry, Warriors fall in Game 4 to Rockets]
“To come back and play and to hit shots, we could see that he was back to himself,” forward Harrison Barnes said. “It was a huge lift to see him walk off after he didn’t move for a while.”
Said Curry: “I feel pretty good, just not how I envisioned the game going,” Curry said. “I’m disappointed we lost but, all in all, thankful that I came out of that relatively OK and was able to go back in there and try and give my team something.”