Just as injuries left the Cleveland Cavaliers wondering what could have been after they lost the 2015 NBA Finals, so too do the Warriors have regrets after losing a 3-1 lead in the 2016 Finals. (People forget that.) Defensive anchor Andrew Bogut missed the final two games with a knee injury, and Steph Curry was still feeling the effects of the knee injury he suffered in the first round of the playoffs.
By now, Curry has finally acknowledged he was affected by his knee, and his coach acknowledged that it changed the Warriors’ game planning, but Curry’s trainer has given the strongest indication yet that the injury seriously affected Steph’s performance. By way of the USA Today‘s Sam Amick:
“As bad as I wanted it to be him (in the Finals), it wasn’t him,” said [Brandon] Payne, who has worked with Curry since 2011 and spent much of the late summer leading two-a-day workouts with Curry six times a week while living in the Bay Area. “We don’t like to make excuses, and we’re not going to make excuses because all that matters is what happens in the 48 minutes when you’re on the floor. (But) I wish it was the other version of him, the version that we saw for 82 games.”
Payne also mentioned that Curry took a full five weeks off from training to let heal his knee and the shoulder he hurt during the finals. Contrast that with the 10 days he sat out during the playoffs, and you get a sense of just how far away from healthy he was during the playoffs. But Curry will be the first to tell you that injuries happen to everyone, and his health does nothing to cheapen the Cavaliers’ achievement.
(Via USA Today)