Curry on hard fall in Game 4: 'It could have been a lot worse'
The health of a player will always matter far more than the outcome of a game, something NBA fans were unfortunately reminded of on Monday.
There was a scary moment during the second quarter of Game 4 between the Golden State Warriors and Houston Rockets, as Stephen Curry took a hard fall and, after lying prostrate for several minutes, was forced to leave the game.
The Warriors called Curry's injury a head contusion and he was originally considered questionable to return. After staying back in the locker room to begin the second half, Curry was cleared by doctors to return and checked back into the game at the 5:58 mark of the third quarter.
He immediately air-balled a three.
It seemed unlikely the Warriors would risk bringing him back, considering how difficult it can be to diagnose a concussion in the immediate aftermath of a fall like this, but the Warriors said there were no concussion symptoms present.
After the game, Curry said that he passed the NBA's concussion protocol in the locker room. He also admitted it was one of the worst falls he's had in his basketball career.
"It was the scariest one. I've had worse symptoms ... but I was in the air for a long time," Curry told reporters during postgame media availability. "It could have been a lot worse, I'm just thankful. Once I got back to the locker room, I just kind of gathered myself.
"All in all, I'm thankful that I came out of it relatively OK."
The injury occurred when Curry ran back on defense and attempted to block a Trevor Ariza shot from behind. Ariza pump-faked and Curry tumbled over his shoulders and to the floor, landing stiffly.
Curry appeared to land on his neck and shoulder, and looked to have hit his head on the floor, as well. After being attended to by trainers from both teams, a stretcher was brought out.
The MVP said afterwards that he's not interested in rewatching the frightening tumble. "I've seen it once," Curry said. "And once was enough."
Curry was ultimately able to walk to the locker room under his own power but looked to be in a good deal of pain.
The Toyota Center crowd gave Curry a standing ovation as he left, a nice show of sportsmanship and respect.
Curry was taken to the locker room with general manager Bob Myers, with father Dell heading to the area to join them. After the game, Myers was adamant that Curry did not have a concussion.
Meanwhile, Curry's mother Sonya looked concerned as Steph was returning to the contest in the third quarter.
The Warriors trailed the Rockets 55-36 with 5:52 to play in the second quarter when Curry left and trailed 81-69 when he returned. He had 11 points on 3-of-7 shooting in 13 minutes to that point.
Unfortunately, Curry was unable to help his team mount a comeback, as they fell 128-115. He finished with 23 points, while going 7-for-18 from the field.
The Warriors still lead the best-of-seven Western Conference Finals series 3-1, and Curry didn't seem concerned about his Game 5 status.
"I'll get some good rest tonight and be ready to go," he said. "Since it happened until now, nothing has gotten worse. I expect that to continue in the hours leading up to Wednesday."