NBA Best Of The Week: Week 9—Al Horford Joins Parade Of Recovering Stars

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Dec 14, 2013; New York, NY, USA; Atlanta Hawks center Al Horford (15) passes as New York Knicks power forward Amar'e Stoudemire (1) and point guard Pablo Prigioni (9) defend during the third quarter at Madison Square Garden. New York Knicks won 111-106. Mandatory Credit: Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports

Al Horford’s torn pectoral muscle leaves a gaping hole in the Atlanta Hawks’ lineup. Mandatory Credit: Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports

It’s been a tough year on the injury front. Kobe Bryant was out, came back for six games and is now out again. Derrick Rose came back … and is now out again, presumably for the duration of the season after knee surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his right knee, the one he didn’t tear the ACL in during the 2012 playoffs.

Add Atlanta Hawks center Al Horford to the list of the missing. Horford tore his right pectoral muscle last weekend during a game in Cleveland and he is schedule to have surgery Tuesday that will presumably end his season.

In 2012, Horford tore his left pectoral muscle in January and was able to return for the playoffs, so hope might not be lost in the ATL just yet.

The Hawks have been having a solid season after losing power forward Josh Smith in free agency, signing Paul Millsap to replace him. Atlanta is one of just three teams in the Eastern Conference with a record better than .500 at 17-14 and currently holds the third position in the conference standings.

Horford was leading the Hawks in scoring at 18.6 points per game while averaging eight rebounds a night and shooting 57 percent.

Horford’s injury, among others, has led some to howl about how the season is too long and that’s why so many players get hurt.

The thing is, those howls only seem to happen when it’s a marquee player that gets hurt. I don’t recall too many cries of consternation when Greg Smith of the Houston Rockets sprained his knee or Ronny Turiaf of the Minnesota Timberwolves broke his elbow.

It’s yet another case of fans wanting everything—star players for every game, lots of games, but not so many that star players get hurt, but we want more games with star players, but we don’t want them to get hurt, but … yeah, it’s that sort of thought process.

It’s similar to the refrains from fans when star players are rested late in the season (or in the case of the San Antonio Spurs, whenever the hell Gregg Popovich decides to do so). But let a player get hurt in a meaningless game before the playoffs and the refrains will be just as loud and just as forlorn … and many of them will come from the very same people who complained about players resting.

Bottom line? There’s no pleasing anyone. Or is it everyone. I always mix those up.

Anyway, on to the best of the week, where the players selected must play at least 25 minutes a game in more than half of their team’s games (rookies must average 20 minutes a game to be selected).

All statistical information from NBA.com/Stats.

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Tags: NBA