SAN FRANCISCO - The Golden State Warriors' starting lineup looked a lot different Friday night, as veteran Draymond Green led a crop of young players, who have been forced into the spotlight to fill in for Klay Thompson who is out with an injured knee and Steph Curry, who will be out for three months after injuring his hand and index finger during a fall Wednesday.
Fans who had been hoping to see the Warriors win another NBA championship, say they're now wondering if the team will be able to eke out a winning season.
One couple, Sharlotte Wheaton and her husband, traveled all the way from Houston to see Steph Curry play in the new Chase Center. They were disappointed to hear he'd been injured.
"I did come here to see Steph, but we bought our ticket and we flew out here so we're here," said Wheaton.
"It's tough. We're going to miss him. He's the man. He's the face of the franchise and you know it's got to be tough on him. He loves the game," said Ed Marwitz of San Francisco, sporting a jersey with Curry's number 30.
A subdued Warriors coach Steve Kerr spoke to reporters, about facing a season now without the Golden State Warriors' stars.
"I feel terrible for Steph. Just like I feel awful for Loon, and Jacob and Klay, it's been a crazy run," said Kerr.
The Warriors released a statement saying Curry had surgery on his injured hand and second metacarpal. The surgery Friday was performed by Dr. Steven Shin at the Cedars-Sinai Kerlan-Jobe Institute in Los Angeles. Dr. Shin is known for having performed surgery in the past on New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees.
"Curry is expected to make a full-time recovery and an update on his status will be provided in three (3) months," the Warriors' statement said.
Three months is a typical recovery time, according to UCSF Assistant Professor and orthopedic surgeon Dr. Igor Immerman.
"That's roughly the amount of time you'd want to wait for seeing the bone is strong enough to withstand the forces he'll put on it," said Dr. Immerman, "One of the advantages of surgery is that in many cases, he would be able to start moving his fingers and hand very quickly, which would allow him to rehab faster and get back to play faster."
With five players injured, the Warriors will be playing without Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, Kevon Looney, Jacob Evans, and Alen Smailagic.
Fans hoping to see the Warriors win another championship, are now left wondering whether their favorite team can eke out a winning record for the season.
"I think you'll see some different things. We'll pare down our menu of plays and we'll try to simplify things defensively," said Kerr, "For young players I think less is more. So we'll try to get really good at the things that we execute, but we won't have as many concepts and as many plays in our menu."
Kerr said veteran Draymond Green will be key to keeping the young team on track.
"We got a bunch of hungry young guys who are ready to play," said Kerr, "There's no reason why we can't be the team that plays hardest every night. We may not have enough talent, but we should be competitive as hell."
Kerr also said he wants players to stick to the team's core values.
"In terms of preparation and work ethic and joy, and everything that we've been about, it's got to carry forward, cause that's what the culture is about," said Kerr.
Faithful fans still showed up sporting their Curry jerseys Friday night.
Leah Tenbit, an elementary student from Morgan Hill had a message for Steph, "I hope you feel better."
Her brother Nathaneal Tenbit said he hopes Curry has a quick recovery.
"I think we're not going to have the best start of the season, but when he comes back we're going to be better," said eight-year-old Aidan Soloski who showed up with his friend Dante Azevedo, both wearing Curry jerseys.
Nick Soloski, a ten-year-old Klay Thompson fan hopes his favorite Warrior will be on the mend.
"It's really sad. He was a really good player. I can't wait for him to come back," said Nick.
Dub Nation fans say they'll hope for the best, and say "Strength in Numbers" is a slogan for the tough times too.
"It's kind of a tough time, but we're fans and we're going to stick with them and hope that they get better and come back," said Margaret Hirst of Redwood City who wore a Kevon Looney jersey.
"We'll get him back, and then someday we'll get Klay back and maybe we'll get a first round pick next season because our record may not be great, but that's alright, you know that's part of being a fan. You got to take it when it's good and when it's bad right," said Marwitz.