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NBA Injury Analysis: Stephen Curry Sidelined Again

Jeff Stotts

Jeff Stotts works as a Certified Athletic Trainer (MAT, ATC, PES, CES). He won the 2011 Best Fantasy Football Article in Print from the Fantasy Sports Trade Association.

Stephen Curry
It seemed inevitable given how his previous two seasons have gone but Curry made it 36 games before injuring his troubled right ankle. Curry sprained the ankle at shootaround prior to Golden State's game against Miami and missed the next two games. He has since returned but the right ankle remains an issue moving forward. Over the last three years it has been reported that Curry has sprained or aggravated the ankle 16 times, including the most recent incident. He has also undergone two surgeries intended to strengthen the ligament and clean up any developed scar tissue. While his most recent procedure has held up well, the ligaments in his ankle will never be 100 percent.

Ligaments have a specific characteristic known as a yield point. When a ligament is stretched past its yield point, it undergoes a gross failure resulting in a physical change. The concept is similar to a rubber band. When a rubber band is new, it is stretchy yet strong. As it is used multiple times, the rubber band is slowly worn down, moving past its yield point. It becomes stretched out, decreases in strength, and loses its elasticity. A sprained ligament acts in similar fashion. Once a ligament has been stressed past its yield point its physical makeup remains forever altered, no matter how much rehab and treatment it receives.

Curry's injured right ankle ligaments will never be perfect but his commitment to rehab and treatment can decrease the odds of another sprain occurring by strengthening the fortifying muscles and other involved ligaments. There is no denying he comes with risk but there is a small silver lining. Despite the well-documented problems, Curry has only missed 49 games during that three year stretch. 24 of those 49 games came at the end of last season when a second surgery was required. The fact that he only missed two games with this latest sprain suggests an improvement. Get Curry back in your lineup and hope he can continue to bounce back quickly.

Luol Deng
Deng has tallied a considerable amount of minutes over the last few seasons and currently sits seventh in minutes played for the 2012-2013 season. He has played despite multiple injuries including a torn ligament in his left wrist, bruised ribs, and a facial laceration that required stitches. However the minutes may have finally caught up to the forward who is now dealing with a strained right hamstring. He was a spectator for Chicago's loss to Memphis on Saturday and remains day-to-day. Hamstring injuries can be extremely tricky to deal with and often affect other areas of the body, particularly the calf due to the proximity of the two muscles groups.

The origin point for calf is near the insertion site of the hamstrings. Additionally both muscle groups work synergistically to bend the knee. Based on this close proximity and codependence, it is easy to see how an injury or imbalance in one muscle group could directly alter and weaken the other. While there is no guarantee Deng will be bothered by calf problems, he has increased the likelihood of one occurring. It is also worth noting he missed 11 games during the 10-11 campaign with a right calf strain.

He did not go through shootaround on Monday and is considered doubtful for Monday's game against the Lakers. Fantasy owners should take this in stride and understand Deng missing a game or two now could save him from sitting for a significant stretch later in the season. In the meantime, Jimmy Butler will receive a nice bump in minutes and could be worth a look in some deeper formats.

Fast Breaks

Nicola Batum: Batum is dealing with a right wrist injury that is currently being considered a sprain. Batum has the area wrapped but admitted it gives him problems while shooting. He also stated it seems to worsen the more he shoots, suggesting a muscle strain may also have occurred. He doesn't plan on missing any games but adjust your expectations for the immediate future, particularly when it comes to his shooting percentages.

Chris Paul: The Clippers point guard went down last week after bumping knees with Orlando's JJ Redick. The collision resulted in a bruised knee cap that cost CP3 three games. He returned Saturday against the Wizards, collecting a double-double in the win. With the Clippers slated for five games this week, make sure you have him in your lineups.

Nikola Pekovic: Pekovic became the latest Minnesota player to get bit by the injury bug. He will miss the next week recovering from a left thigh contusion. With Kevin Love out as well, look for Greg Stiemsma to join the starting unit.

Anderson Varejao: Last week I detailed my thoughts on Varejao and how I felt he was unlucky and not necessarily injury prone. Well the bad luck continues as Varejao will miss the remainder of the season after developing a blood clot in his lungs following surgery on his torn quadriceps. The embolism will be treated with anticoagulant medication designed to thin the blood will be taken for the next three months. Blood clots following lower leg surgery are not uncommon and can be extremely dangerous, but fortunately Varejao's clot was detected and treated.

Russell Westbrook: Westbrook turned his left ankle in the first half of Oklahoma City's loss to Denver but returned to action in the second half of the game. The ankle is not considered serious as evident of Westbrook's two blocks on Denver's mascot Rocky during his two half-court shot attempts.

Louis Williams: Williams will miss the remainder of the season after tearing the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in his right knee. He will undergo surgery to repair the damage but based on the timing of the injury, should feasibly ready for the start of the 2013-2014 season. The Hawks will turn to Kyle Korver and rookie John Jenkins to fill the void left by Williams' absence. Anthony Morrow would seem like a reasonable option to see an increase in minutes but he has missed 13 consecutive games with hip and back injuries.

Jeff Stotts is a Certified Athletic Trainer, MAT, PES and the Injury Analyst for You can follow him on twitter @RotoWireATC.