SAN FRANCISCO -- As Steph Curry hobbled up the steps of the Chase Center stands with two minutes left in the third quarter of the Warriors' eventual 119-113 win over the Dallas Mavericks on Feb. 4, he figured the pain he felt was a normal leg contusion, just a real bad one, from McKinley Wright IV's knee banging into his left shin.
Timing is everything, though. For Curry, the timing was all wrong.
If his foot were elevated, he very well could be dealing with a typical contusion right now. But because his foot was planted and he had a lot of weight on it, the impact was worse than anybody could have hoped for.
Steve Kerr immediately called a timeout with Curry in pain, but instead of going to the locker room right away, the Warriors star opted to sit on the bench. At that point, Curry instincts told him he could shake off the pain. Then he tried to get up, quickly changing his thought process and the Warriors' outlook.
"It was like, 'No, that's not right,' " Curry said Monday at Chase Center before the Warriors' game against the Washington Wizards, when speaking with the media for the first time since his injury. "We went to check it, did all the test on it and I knew it was something more than a normal contusion.
"I couldn't put any weight on it and was hobbling around."
X-Rays showed right away that Curry didn't have any broken bones, which was his first sense of relief. An MRI then revealed that along with a leg contusion, Curry sustained partial tears to his superior tibiofibular ligaments and interosseous membrane, words that like all of us, Curry had never heard of.
The diagnosis most importantly showed him that he wouldn't miss the rest of the season, which was the biggest sigh of relief for Curry and the Warriors.
But because he's dealing with issues to leg ligaments instead of bones, Curry's timeline remains a mystery. His next injury update will come after the All-Star break. In the meantime, he's doing plenty of rehab off the court but nothing on it. Curry does not have a target date for his return, as his recovery remains a fluid situation.
"No, because it's all dictated around how this heals," Curry said. "This is different than the shoulder where it was pretty predictable where I'll be able to get to a point where I can play and not reinjure it or throw myself in jeopardy out there on the floor.
"This one's different because ligaments can heal all different types of timelines. So there's like a window for each checkpoint. After the All-Star break, I'm going to hopefully get back on the court and then depending on how things go from there, you can start to key in on a on a specific day to get back."
Curry has played 38 games this season and is averaging 29.4 points, 6.4 assists and a career-high 6.3 rebounds per game while shooting 49.5 percent from the field, 42.7 percent from 3-point range and 92.2 percent from the free-throw line.
He missed 11 straight games to a left shoulder subluxation earlier this season, and the Warriors went 6-5 in his absence. They're 1-2 in the three games he has been sidelined for with his left lower leg injury going into Monday night's contest.
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No two injuries are the same. Curry will not be able to play against the Los Angeles Lakers in LA on Feb. 23 when the All-Star break ends. Him and the rest of the franchise have their fingers crossed he doesn't have to be stuck to street clothes much longer once the Warriors return from a needed break.
"You don't know how long it'll take for it to really get truly healed so that you can get back out there," Curry said. "It's not something that you can play through if it's not healed."