Warriors forward Brandon Rush left Friday night’s game against the Memphis Grizzlies with a serious injury to his left knee.
On a play with 4:09 left in the first quarter, Rush came down the left side on a semi fastbreak and went up for a one-handed tomahawk dunk. He was fouled in the air by Grizzlies forward Zach Randolph and landed awkwardly. Per the replays, it seemed Rush dislocated his left knee.
Rush, 27, immediately grabbed his left knee. The fifth-year swingman tried to get up and walk off but was in obvious pain. Clearly distraught, Rush was helped up by his teammates and headed straight for the locker room. The seriousness of the injury was apparent when Rush didn’t even bother to attempt his free throws, which disqualifies him for the rest of the game. The rest of the Warriors huddled in what looked like a team prayer. The Warriors announced, when the second quarter began, that Rush was getting x-rays on his left knee and he will have an MRI on Saturday.
Since Rush — who had checked in for the first time Friday at the six-minute mark of the opening quarter — did not attempt his free throws, which disqualifies him for the rest of the game. But from the looks of it, the Warriors may have lost one of their key players for an extended period. If he tore his patellar tendon, as was the case with former Warriors swingman Kelenna Azubuike in 2009, Rush’s career could be in jeopardy.
Warriors coach Mark Jackson had come to rely on Rush, who had 14 points off the bench in Golden State’s season-opening win at Phoenix. He was in the running to be the starting small forward, but Jackson preferred having Rush come off the bench.
The Warriors signed Rush to a two-year, $8 million contract this offseason. Rush has a player option for next season.
As for this season, the Warriors will be without, at least for the near future, their best perimeter defender and one of their most efficient scorers.