SACRAMENTO -- A dark cloud hung over Golden 1 Center Saturday evening as both the Sacramento Kings and Golden State Warriors awaited news on 22-year-old shooting guard Patrick McCaw.
The high-flying wing left the floor on a stretcher in the late third quarter after being knocked off balance by veteran Vince Carter. McCaw was taken directly to UC Davis Medical center for further observations as both teams held their breath.
“I just hope he’s okay,” an emotional Carter said following the game. “I play this game because I love it and enjoy it and not for that, not to see young guys get hurt. He has a bright future and I hate to see it.”
McCaw cut baseline and attacked the rim with 40.8 seconds remaining in the third quarter. A replay shows Carter sliding over to cut off McCaw’s path. The 41-year-old veteran caught McCaw in the leg with a shoulder. The contact knocked McCaw off balance and sent him flying through the air awkwardly.
“I remember his foot hitting the side of my leg, that’s it,” Carter said.
The second-year pro landed on his lower back area and instantly began rolling on the floor in pain. Both team’s medical staffs quickly came out on the floor and McCaw was eventually removed from the floor immobilized on a gurney.
“He’s a young guy, he has a bright future, I don’t play the game that way,” Carter said. “To see a young guy laying down there, it’s an unfortunate situation.”
Carter kneeled next to McCaw as he was attended to, clearly overwhelmed by the situation. He still looked overwhelmed by the situation later in the evening as he fielded questions from his locker stall.
“Vince felt horrible, he was out there next to him,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. “Vince felt awful and Pat was in extreme pain. Everybody felt bad. All we can do is just hope we get a positive response from the hospital and we’ll see. At this point, we don’t know anything.”
As McCaw was wheeled off the court, both teams huddled together under the Warriors basket to say a prayer. It was an emotional moment for everyone in the building.
“It’s never good to see that, but you just see the respect and the professionalism out of these players to just come together and pray,” rookie De’Aaron Fox said. “It’s tough to finish a game like that, but that’s what we’re paid to do.”
Following the loss, Carter made his way to the Warriors locker room to once again apologize to McCaw’s teammates. On a night when he became just the ninth player in NBA history to play 1,400 regular season games, he left the building with a heavy heart.
“I know Vince’s spirit and his heart and I don’t believe it was intentional at all,” Kevin Durant said following the game. “It looked like he was just caught in the middle of wanting to get in the play and wanting to move out of the way. Pat was just coming so fast and it was just an unfortunate play.”
“Nobody in our locker room thinks Vince did that on purpose,” Durant added.
McCaw has played a valuable role for the Warriors this season, playing 56 games, including 10 starts for a 55-win Golden State team. Thoughts and prayers go out to him and his family as they await news on the extent of his injury.