It’s always difficult, as a sports fan, to witness the desolation of a season that is ravaged by injuries to players left and right. In the same way that last season was seemingly ruined by injuries to star players, the NFL has witnessed tantamount injuries this season as well. Recently, the NBA has seen star after star lost for extended periods of time. Games are lost, and the season is becoming nearly unwatchable for fans of certain teams. Let’s take a look at the most relevant injuries of late.
Atlanta lost their All Star Power Forward Al Horford to a season-ending tear of the pectoral muscle. Though newcomer Paul Millsap has stepped up his play of late, Horford is definitely a player the Hawks cannot afford to play without, especially since the team is already without former All Star Josh Smith who left town to play for the Pistons.
Boston has been without Point Guard Rajon Rondo for the entirety of the season, but the Celtics are optimistic about his return. There have been rumors that Rondo, who could return sometime in January or February, will make his immediate return in the NBDL.
Charlotte Forward Michael Kidd-Gilchrist broke his left hand in early December. The Sophomore out of Kentucky has already had his cast removed, but a return date has not been confirmed for the Bobcats wing.
Chicago suffered a devastating injury to Derrick Rose when he tore his meniscus early in his comeback season. Their lineup was thinned even further as wings Luol Deng and Jimmy Butler along with backup Point Guard Kirk Hinrich, who has missed time with a bad back.
Cleveland superstar Point Guard Kyrie Irving was recently added to the list of surprise injuries when he bruised his knee recently. Irving is not travelling with the team as they head to Brooklyn to face the struggling Nets.
Chris Paul is the most recent player to suffer a freak injury, as he separated his shoulder against the Dallas Mavericks. Paul, the most important player for the Clippers, will be out for three-to-five weeks. Paul joins J.J. Reddick, another Clippers Guard on the disabled list.
The Lakers have had probably the worst luck out of any team in the NBA. Three of their Point Guards, Steve Nash, Steve Blake, and Jordan Farmar, have all seen time on the disabled list. To weaken their roster even further, resurgent youngster Xavier Henry recently suffered a bone bruise which should keep him out for well over a week. Chris Kaman has also missed time, but the worst injury was Kobe Bryant’s fractured knee, occurring in just his sixth game back from last year’s torn Achilles Tendon.
Memphis has been depleted with the losses of Marc Gasol, Tayshaun Prince, and Quincy Pondexter, all for extended periods of time. A team that is a season removed from the Western Conference Finals, the Grizzlies are floundering in a tough Western Conference.
The Brooklyn Nets are in the midst of a season very reminiscent of the Lakers last year, with a lack of success surrounding an All Star starting lineup. Brook Lopez has been ruled out for the season, and fellow All Stars Deron Williams and Paul Pierce have missed time as well.
Anthony Davis, the Sophomore Forward for the New Orleans Pelicans, has missed time with a broken left hand. Though he initially was ruled out for four-to-six weeks, Davis has since returned to the starting lineup. Fellow Forward Ryan Anderson, however, was carried off on a stretcher in the Pelicans’ most recent game.
The Knicks have struggled mightily this season, though not entirely because of injuries. Starters Raymond Felton, Carmelo Anthony, and Tyson Chandler have all had to miss time due to injuries, and New York has been forced to work around these losses, even going as far as briefly signing J.R. Smith’s brother Chris, a player whose worthiness of an NBA roster spot has been doubted by critics and fans alike.
The final injury that has shocked the league this season was Russell Westbrook’s arthroscopic surgery on his knee. The Thunder Point Guard will be out until the All Star Break, though this injury appears to be less serious than his season-ending meniscus tear last season.
The toughest part of all these injuries as a fan is having to watch supposed championship contenders play out the season without key pieces. Matchups like Lakers vs. Bulls have been rescheduled from national television due to the teams’ struggles to deal with injuries. The Bulls were once considered a championship favorite, and the Lakers’ backcourt injuries have reached an almost comical point (of course, no injury is a laughing matter).
Fortunately, there is still a bright side to consider. Last season, injuries to Rajon Rondo, Kobe Bryant, and Russell Westbrook were all severe enough to end these superstars’ seasons. Though we have seen season-ending injuries already like those of Al Horford and Brook Lopez, most of the high-profile injuries have not been season-ending. For players like Westbrook and Chris Paul, their teams are strong enough to still be competitive without them, and their injuries are expected to heal well before the playoffs, allowing the players to return to form in time to work towards NBA Finals berths.
By Austin Murphy – WonderPunter