KPIX 5 Sports Director Dennis O’Donnell hosts “Gameday” every Sunday night at 11:30pm on CBS 5 and offers his unique sports analysis here.


Stephen Curry and Derrick Rose: To Play or not to Play. That is the question.

As he came out to go through his pregame routine it soon became apparent that would be no pre-game routine. The pain was too much for Stephen Curry and Jarrett Jack later admitted he didn’t think Curry would play in a critical game four with the Warriors trailing San Antonio, two games to one.

In Chicago, Derrick Rose made his decision long ago. He sat on the bench, dressed smartly in suit that conveyed a very stylish message; the Bulls would have to carry on against the Heat minus their MVP.

Rose has become a lightning rod in Chicago because doctors cleared him to start scrimmaging in mid-February. But with the Bulls playing the defending champions, Rose would not suit up except in his suit. He had surgery to repair a torn ACL in his left knee on May 12, 2012. And while many others in many other sports have come back far sooner from ACL surgery, Rose chose not to risk his knee.

The Bay Area airwaves are filled with fans in awe of Curry’s remarkable display courage in overcoming the pain and persevering despite playing on one ankle. In stark contrast, the talk shows in Chicago question Roses’ courage and debate the ludicrous notion of actually trading Rose for his decision to make certain he is 100 percent healthy before playing basketball.

Doesn’t it take Rose more courage not to play? Cleared by doctors, Rose listens to his body as his final medical opinion. With a $100 million dollar contract he is set for life. But in a sports culture that elevates players for leaving their body parts on the field, the court, and the ice, Rose is an outcast.

While the rest of his teammates struggle through injuries and a season full of fatigue, Rose elects more rest for his ACL. He is unfairly portrayed, by some, as a selfish teammate who can’t handle the pain.

Stephen Curry takes a more traditional approach. He takes anti-inflammatory injections to ease the pain regardless of the risks. The Warriors cannot win the series without Stephen Curry on the court. Even on one ankle, Curry remains a dangerous threat. But if you are coming from the Derrick Rose school of thought, Curry would be in a suit far nicer that his counterpart somewhere at the end of court, sitting next to Kent Bazemore.

What is Curry risking? Perhaps nothing. Anti-inflammatory shots, if used in moderation, are not harmful. Curry has had three so far. Dr. Toni Brayer, a physician for internal medicine at California Pacific Medical Center said, “There are no specific guidelines on how many is too many. But three is getting there. Usually, it is a longer-acting medication, clinical steroids and the effect can go on for a while. If they are giving him three in a short period of time he must be in a lot of pain. These shots are safe, but if you get too many in a short period of time, tendon rupture is really the danger.”

Prior to game five in San Antonio, Curry said he would not take another injection. And, to be honest, that was music to my ears. Curry isn’t just a tremendous talent, he’s a tremendous person. He is the symbol of basketball rebirth in the Bay Area and I’d like it to stay that way for another decade or so.

So while we ride the incredible roller coaster that is the Warriors post season, I’d wouldn’t mind seeing Steph take a page out of Derrick’s book. Listen to your body.

(Copyright 2013 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)


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