The Warriors, who have spent past year-plus praising and relying on their roster depth, will find their resolve tested as never before this week, beginning Wednesday night, when they face the Mavericks in Dallas.
Reigning MVP Stephen Curry underwent an MRI test of his lower left leg and was declared out of the game against the Mavericks. The seventh-year guard also could miss the game Thursday at Houston.
Curry’s absence immediately forces Shaun Livingston, a key member of the second unit, into the starting lineup.
As if the absence of Curry, whose status is “day to day,” weren’t enough to stress the roster, there’s more.
Forward Harrison Barnes, with a sprained left ankle, is not on the trip. Neither is reserve guard Leandro Barbosa, who continues to recover from a sprained left shoulder.
Furthermore, center Festus Ezeli, who sustained a big toe injury Monday against Sacramento, also was ruled out in Dallas.
“We have a good portion of our guys not playing tonight,” interim coach Luke Walton said in his pregame news conference. “But it’s always interesting to see how guys will rise to that challenge and still get after it and compete.”
Barnes, who has been out since Nov. 27 with a sprained left ankle, indicated to CSNBayArea.com on Monday that he is “very close” to returning.
Rounding out the injury list is rookie Kevon Looney, who has yet to play as he continues rehabilitation after undergoing right hip surgery over the summer. Though he has traveled with the team for much of this season, he also stayed in the Bay Area.
Meanwhile, forward Draymond Green, the rock of the team, got taped up Wednesday night and was in the starting lineup for the opening tipoff.
The great health enjoyed by the Warriors through most of last season clearly has taken a turn for the worse.