On Sunday, The Athletic reported that Stephen Curry is expected to miss multiple weeks with a knee injury that the Warriors have described as "partial tears to his superior tibiofibular ligaments and interosseous membrane as well as a contusion to his lower left leg."
It sounds worse than it is. Hopefully.
As times for Curry to hit the shelf for "multiple weeks" go, this is about as good a one as the Warriors could hope for at this relatively late point in the season. They have five games between now at the All-Star break, beginning Monday at home against the Thunder. Then it's the Blazers, Lakers, Wizards and Clippers.
It's not unreasonable for the Warriors to go, say, 2-3 in those five games. Maybe they get a big night from Jordan Poole or Klay Thompson at the right time and go 3-2. Anything around .500 will be fine.
But even worst-case scenario. They lose all five. It wouldn't be the nail in their coffin, as long as Curry recovers and returns along the initially expected timeline.
Entering play on Monday, the Warriors are 27-26, good enough for the No. 8 seed. The West standings are so squished together that Golden State is tied in the loss column with the No. 4 Clippers and just one game up on the No. 12 Thunder.
They can only fall so far over the next eight days, and after that, they get eight more days off for the All-Star break. That's the season saver, right there. If that potential last week and change of Curry's recovery was filed out with four more games, that could be, probably would be, a major problem.
But the Warriors catch a schedule break here. They can manage these five games. They went 6-5 over Curry's last 11-game absence and are 7-8 in the 15 total games he's missed this season. Again, anything close to .500 over this stretch is a win.
Now, after that, the margin for error shrinks down to almost nothing. Another injury for any of their top guys, let alone Curry, post All-Star break could be the thing that finally breaks them. But the Warriors aren't playing for a top-four seed anymore. All they want to do is get above the the play-in line.
And even if they have to go through the play-in game(s), they can do that. At full strength, they would be favored in any single matchup and arguably any series. They have the pedigree and experience to flip the switch in the nick of time. You don't want to depend on having to do that, but they can do it. Give them a couple weeks runway to the postseason, and they can get up to speed and take off almost as a matter of course.
They know that. And so does everyone else. The Warriors are far from out of this thing. But they're at the point where this Curry injury needs to be the last setback they suffer. Get through these next five games, see what, if anything, Bob Myers can add at the trade deadline, take a long, deep breath at the All-Star break, and come out gunning with Curry hopefully back by the start of March.
That would give the Warriors almost a month-and-a-half to get rolling before the postseason. Plenty of time. Just get in the dance, baby. They can take the lead from there.