One of the main criticisms of the Golden State era is that the Warriors had very good injury luck in the playoffs. It seems every major opponent they faced coming into the series with significant injuries – the Cavs had Love and Kyrie hurt for most of their Finals matchups; last year the Rockets lost CP3 to a hamstring. This year the Warriors can change that narrative.
First Boogie tore his quad in Round 1 against the Clippers. The biggest loss happened in Round 2 when they lost KD to a calf injury. They survived Portland without major setbacks, but this was still the biggest injury challenge they had – 2 starters, one of them on an MVP level run inactive due to injury.
Mind you, Iguodala has been limited for some time in the playoffs now but sticking it out. Then Game 2 happened with Looney and Thompson both leaving the court in obvious pain.
Klay Thompson had an MRI and a hamstring strain was confirmed. Hamstring injuries go from strain (Grade 1), partial tear (Grade 2) to a full tear (Grade 3); the minimal reporting we got so far makes it seem Klay is on the Grade 1 level. Three things to note here.
Even with a Grade 1, two days including a flight back to Oakland makes it very unlikely for a full recovery. Hamstrings (like calves) are relatively hard to injure but once you do the recovery time is longer than other more occurring injuries and your biggest ally in healing them is the one thing the Warriors don’t have – time.
Secondly, take all reporting with a grain of salt. The Warriors said KD had a strained calf but the time it is taking him to recover it sounds more like a tear. Teams do this regularly to make preparation for them harder. DO we spend time in workouts planning and practicing our KD defensive schemes?
Thirdly, if there was a comeback MVP it is Klay Thompson. Klay suffered many injuries, from twisted ankles and on, that would put anyone out of commission for weeks and he would come back and perform.
Looney also had an MRI and a fractured collarbone was confirmed. That puts Looney out indefinitely – the playoffs are done for him.
This is such a shame for Looney who was the most surprising player of the playoffs, greatly overperforming his expectations. A free agent, before the playoffs Looney was projected for a 3 – 5 million per year contract. After his performances, double digits will be a starting point.
He excelled ad the defensive end, with great pick-and-roll and overall defensive instincts. The Warriors will have a hard time keeping him and will miss him for the rest of the Finals.
Who can play for the Warriors?
KD is still out, Lonney is out, Klay is highly questionable, Boogie only played two games (quite well in Game 2) and Iguodala is limited. It’s Steph, Draymond and the bench mob for the Warriors.
Steve Kerr has his job cut out for him as he will be forced to allocate minutes to Andrew Bogut, Alfonso McKinnie, Quinn Cook, Damian Jones, Jonas Jerebko, and Shaun Livingston.
The only good news is that the series moves to Oakland and role players perform better in front of the home crowd.
Prepare those “Strength in Numbers” t-shirts Oakland. You will need it.