Since its inception, the National Basketball Association (NBA) has been one of the major leagues around the world. Apart from being cash-rich this league has got a major fandom.
In the NBA, we have seen players doing almost everything for their teams. One thing which pushed many of these players on the backfoot has been an injury. Injuries, in any game, ruin the momentum and even hamper individual and team records to an extent.
Over the years there have been many examples of players missing out on many games owing to injuries.
However, there even have been players ignoring their minor injuries which later have turned into major ones. For example, let’s take Isaiah Thomas who played despite a hip injury in the quest for a win. He went on to damage his hip so badly that he performed terribly when he came back in January.
Since Basketball is a game with healthy requirements of agility and jumping, players, injuries are inevitable. Here we have a look at 10 of the players who have turned out to be the most injury-prone over the past years.
#10. Kevin Durant
Kevin Durant, after entering the NBA in 2007 has gained a reputation as a scoring machine providing an average of 27.0 points per game. However, even this 6ft 10 inches giant isn’t spared by injuries. His first stint with injury was in the 2014-15 season. Just the previous year, Durant had been adjudged the MVP, earning himself the nickname “Slim Reaper”.
The season 2014-15 turned to be unfortunate for him as he played only 27 games. Durant immediately underwent surgery and missed the first 17 games and needed another surgery in February 2015 as he ended the season with an average of 25.4 points, 6.4 rebounds, and 4.1 assists.
After getting signed for Warriors, Durant’s first year with Dubs was sailing smoothly until he sustained a Grade 2 MCL sprain and a bone, bruising the left knee. He missed 19 games and returned in April 2017. His affair with injuries continued when he suffered another calf injury and missed 9 consecutive games.
Tragically enough, when he returned in Game 5 of the finals, KD injured Achilles tendon and underwent a fatal surgery. The following year, he was signed by Brooklyn Nets’ and has still not been deemed fully fit as his status remains questionable.
#9. Anthony Davis
Ever since his arrival, Anthony Davis has been the second most important player to the Lakers after LeBron. Such has been the latter’s history with injuries that except for the 2016-17 and 2017-18 season (where he missed 7 games each), he has missed a minimum of 14 games in all season. He’s also one of the major stars to have injured almost all the major body parts.
His first encounter with injury on 20 November 2012 made him miss 11 straight games. The 2012-13 season was cut short for him when he suffered a left bone ligament sprain and bone bruise and could appear in only 64 games.
However, the most challenging season was his fourth one (2015-16) where he endured a sprained left toe, right hip strain, back problems, and a concussion and played a career-low 61 games. Moreover, the 27-year-old’s final season in New Orleans was marred by controversy and injuries as he appeared in just 56 games. His affair with injuries has been more or less the same even after being drafted by the Lakers.
#8. Stephen Curry
The greatest shooter ever in the history of the NBA, undoubtedly, Steph Curry has left no stone unturned in his career. Recently he rubbed shoulders with the great Wilt Chamberlain when he overtook him to be the highest scorer in Warriors history.
However, one thing we might notice about this bloke is the long affair with injuries. Currently, in the form of his life, Warriors fans might be praying to God for Steph to continue his golden run. Over the years, Curry has been engulfed with many injuries, the tailbone, and the right-hand contusion the major ones of them.
His woes started in 2010-11 season, having injured the same ankle in the pre-season and then injuring himself over and over again. The 33-year-old’s worst health condition appeared in 2012 when after returning from an off-season injury, he kept injuring his ankle multiple times and played only 26 games.
After getting signed for the Warriors, Steph Curry trained well and started dominating NBA in the 2015-16 season. Just as it looked all set for him, he sustained another injury, and this time he broke his hand after Suns’ Aron Baynes fell on top of him.
This season, however, except for a few scares he’s been almost unstoppable and recently broke the record of most shots made from downtown.
#7. Dwayne Wade
In the past, we’ve seen injuries turning a brilliant start to a lackluster one. Such has been the case with Dwayne Wade. The 2006 finals MVP has had his fair share of ups and downs in the league. It all started in the 2006-07 season when Wade missed 31 games due to injury. In spite of that though, he was elected to his third consecutive All-star Game and received All-NBA honors.
On 21 Feb 2007, Wade dislocated his left shoulder and left the court in a wheelchair. He delayed surgery till the postseason and underwent surgeries to repair his left shoulder and left knee post the playoffs. However, the knee issues prevented him from joining the USA Basketball in the Olympic Qualifying Tournament over the summer.
Before the start of the 2012–13 season, Wade underwent left knee surgery, missing the 2012 Summer Olympics. That season, he was restricted to a career-low scoring average of a meager 15.9 points. Even in the 2013-14 season, Wade missed 28 games from injuries.
In the next season, Wade missed seven consecutive games due to a hamstring injury. Due to his good performances, he was named an All-star but pulled out due to another injury of the same kind. However, as the fighter he was, Wade has given us many moments to cherish and the Heats’ decision to retire his jersey number was welcomed widely.
#6. Kyrie Irving
Just like his Nets’ teammate KD, Irving too has had a long-serving interest with injuries and his status has remained doubtful even in the present season.
While he has been no less than phenomenal on the court, it is the flings with injuries that hamper his and the team’s chances a lot. Irving has been one of the fewest players to gather around all kinds of injuries. Such has been the 29-year-old’s history that he has never completed a single season in his long career.
His shoulder injury is supposed to have been the worst as he could play only 20 games the last season. Irving’s other major injury includes a knee injury which has tormented him since the 2015 finals and has forced him to undergo two surgeries, in 2015 and 2018.
Other major injuries of Kyrie Irving include Left Thigh Contusion, Hamstring, Groin, and the very recent face injury which has kept his playing status skeptical.
#5. Yao Ming
The 7 foot 6 inch Yao Ming was hailed as a great product when he entered the NBA. The body which had helped him dominate opponents year after year also had its own disadvantages as often his lower half broke down due to exhaustive use.
A fact that helps us gain an idea of how much he was down with injuries is that he missed 180 games in just eight seasons. It all started in 2005 when osteomyelitis was diagnosed in his left toe. He underwent surgery for that in late December.
In December of 2006, he sustained a right knee injury when he was leaping for a blocked shot and his body got caught under the body of teammate Chuck Hayes who came crashing down on his right knee.
In February 2008, when the Rockets were enjoying their second-largest winning streak in the NBA, Ming was left out for the rest of the season with a stress fracture to his left foot. A million expectations broke when Ming announced his retirement from the league in 2011, and the legacy which came as a promise was left largely unfulfilled.
#4. Blake Griffin
The star-studded team of Nets’ at the advent of the season has instilled fear among the opposition. However, all 4 of their marquee players are injury prone and this has given them a headache of their own. Blake Griffin has been among the players who are the most injury-prone.
Poor luck followed him right from the start as he injured his kneecap while landing from a dunk. The day before the season started, it was confirmed that he has a stress fracture in his left knee which further delayed his NBA for 7 weeks.
The next five years proved quite productive for Griffin as he shattered many records.
However, injuries started to haunt him again as he was ruled out indefinitely with a partially torn quadriceps on 26th December 2015. That season Griffin missed 45 games in total owing to injuries and suspension. A minor surgery on 19 December 2016, kept him out for some time and he was sidelined for a total of 20 games.
On 22 April 2017, Griffin was ruled out of the remainder of the NBA Playoffs following an injury on the right big toe suffered during their match against Utah Jazz. Griffin missed the first 10 games of the 2019-20 season recovering from the left knee surgery and had a second surgery after playing 18 games that season.
#3. Joel Embiid
Joel Embiid has indeed done a lot on his part to keep injuries aside and shine for the Philadelphia 76ers, ever since getting in the NBA. Recently he suffered a bone bruise while attempting a dunk scaring everyone watching.
Fortunately, there was no structural damage but the Cameroonian’s career has eventually been filled with painful moments like these. Such is his dalliance with injuries that he underwent one surgery even before being drafted which ruled him out for about four to six months.
After undergoing another surgery in August 2015, he had to undergo another surgery that sidelined him for the whole season. In fact, he had to wait for two years to have his breakthrough in the NBA, two years after being drafted.
Things started smooth sailing for a few days before lady luck evaded him again and he suffered a torn meniscus which seemed minor at first, but it was later revealed that he would have to miss the rest of the campaign. According to reports Embiid has frequented around 50 issues in his recent years which have sidelined him but still, he is leading the 76ers in the current season and is surely an MVP contender.
#2. Grant Hill
The fact that Grant Hill could achieve much more in his career had he not been plagued by injuries is clear to every NBA fanatic. Hill’s performances had him being compared to Michael Jordan. No doubt he’s one of the four players to have 9000 points, 3000 rebounds, and 2500 assists in his first six seasons.
Grant Hill’s first stint with injury happened in the 2000-01 season. All in all, he could only play 47 games in his first four seasons with Orlando Magic. In March 2003, he underwent a major surgical procedure in which doctors re-fractured his ankle and realigned it with leg bone.
With time, he got a sports hernia that was caused by uneven pressure on his feet. Even after surgery, there were concerns raised that further pressure could rekindle the damage.
His time with the Suns and Clippers didn’t bear much productivity as he missed out on games on a regular basis. After playing 19 seasons in the NBA, he retired in June 2013.
#1. Derrick Rose
‘Youngest NBA MVP ever“- this title was bestowed upon Rose at the young age of 22. Such outstanding performances early on left a lot to be desired from Derrick Rose.
It all started with one unfortunate afternoon of 2012 where despite having a healthy lead over the 76ers Tom Thibodeau left Rose in the court. What happened next was truly tragic as Rose went down in severe pain with what looked like a knee injury. It was later revealed that he had torn his Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL), an injury feared by the best of athletes.
From that day on he has looked like a shadow of his earlier self. He missed all of 2012-13 while recovering and when he did try to make a return in the following season, he tore the meniscus of the other knee, making his return almost next to impossible.
According to reports he has missed as many games as he’s played. The last time he played 70 contests in one single campaign was back during his MVP year in 2010-11. That’s indeed sad for a player who became the talk of the town because of his explosiveness and athleticism which combined with his scoring ability that shattered oppositions over and over.
However, in a recent interview, he expressed no remorse for being a different player. In fact, he took it head-on and admitted that his playing style has changed ever since he got injured. But as all great players do, he adapted and led the Knicks to their first playoff appearance in many years.
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