Call it a tweak or a slip or a mild sprain. But really, call it like it is, time to worry. When Steph Curry folded his ankle against the Pelicans on 4 December, there was concern. Barely a month later, after a slip and a tweak in a shootaround, that worry turned into something else, real concern about the long-term health of one of the NBA’s finest players.
For basketball players, in an occupation that has them jumping and cutting in a forest of long legs and feet, ankle sprains are almost part of the job. For Curry and the Warriors, after two ankle surgeries and countless sprains, the two recent injuries represent something much more serious than wins and losses. While Curry has played in 78 games or more each season since 2011-12, there was a time when his right ankle problems put his NBA future in doubt.
Curry isn’t alone in his ankle sprain woes as the injury accounts for 15% of the injuries in the NBA, more than twice the frequency of any other injury. “Ankle sprains are the most common injury in the NBA,” says Dr Richard Ferkel, the surgeon that performed Curry’s second ankle surgery, “primarily because NBA players put a huge amount of stress on their ankles with all of the sharp cutting and jumping,”