NBA Teams Doomed by Early Season Injury Woes
The injury bug bites every team at some point during the NBA season. Some teams lose a big player, while others lose a star. Playing 82 games in a season lessens the blow a bit, but losing multiple players can doom a NBA team and severely hamper their chances to compete.
Early season injuries are the most frustrating for teams that need to get out to fast starts. New teams looking to build chemistry are crushed by early injuries (Lakers), and teams with older stars that want to acquire a cushion can’t separate themselves from the pack (Boston).
Let’s take a look at five teams who have been devastated by these early season injuries and what the prognosis is moving forward.
Stats are accurate as of games completed on November 18, 2012. Injury reports taken from cbssports.com.
Golden State Warriors
Are players cursed or is it a team? For the Golden State Warriors, they have to feel like someone put a hex on them. They’re without Andrew Bogut and Richard Jefferson temporarily, while Brandon Rush tore his ACL and is out for the season.
Just as soon as the oft-injured Bogut and Stephen Curry were able to get on the court together, it was over. Curry has appeared in all 10 games for the Warriors, but Bogut played less than 20 minutes in each the four games that he’s appeared.
The Warriors were expected to improve drastically on the defensive end, but not having Bogut in the middle has affected them mightily. They allowed 119 points to the Oklahoma City Thunder on Sunday night and lost by 10.
The combination of Festus Ezeli and Andris Biedrins in the paint doesn’t strike fear into the hearts of opposing players. In the remarkably tough Western Conference, the Warriors need Bogut back soon before they’ve got too big of a hill to climb.
Still, the Timberwolves have battled to a record of (5-4). If they can find a way to stay above water until Love comes back, they’ll be okay. The problem is, the players that are left are best suited to come off the bench. Instead, they’re playing starter’s minutes.
It’s going to get worse before it gets better for the Timberwolves. They’ll have to lean heavily on Luke Ridnour, Andrei Kirilenko and Derrick Williams. Ridnour is a suitable backup, Kirilenko didn’t play in the NBA last year and Williams has been a huge disappointment.
To show how desperate they’ve become, the Timberwolves dusted off Josh Howard. In his first appearance, he chucked up 10 shots in 14 minutes.
The Washington Wizards finished the 2011-12 season with a bang. They rolled off six consecutive victories and looked to be gaining some confidence for the 2012-13 season. That confidence was quickly snuffed out with word of John Wall‘s stress fracture in his right knee.
#Wizards PG @john_wall to miss approx 8 weeks w early stages of stress injury to left patella
— Washington Wizards (@WashWizards) September 28, 2012
That was roughly seven weeks ago and according to NBA.com, there is still no timetable set for his return. The Wizards are now winless in eight games and are circling the drain quickly. Adding insult to injury is the fact that Nene hasn’t played a game this season and is still at least three weeks from a game.
Wall is one of the most electrifying point guards in the league, and he makes those around him better. The Wizards need someone like that badly. Jordan Crawford currently leads the team with just 12.4 points per game.
It’s not the Toronto Raptors’ fault that Kyle Lowry continues to get hurt, but they are the ones who will continue to suffer because of it. Lowry recovered from a groin problem to start the year extremely well, but then hurt his ankle in a ghastly way and hasn’t played in 12 days.
He’s slated to be out another one-to-two weeks with his ankle injury. Lowry gets hurt in places that most don’t know even exist. The Toronto Star reported that Lowry has a bruised cuboid bone in his ankle. It’s pretty devastating to lose your point guard, it’s another story altogether to bruise your cuboid bone.
Lowry was playing wonderfully before he got hurt. He was averaging 18.3 points, 5.8 rebounds, 6.3 assists and three steals per game. He was developing chemistry with Jonas Valanciunas and the rest of the Raptors, but now he’s got no choice but to watch them struggle to a record of (3-7).
Andrew Bynum hasn’t played a game for the Philadelphia 76ers, because he’s been rehabbing his right knee. Now, he has a bone bruise in his left knee, reportedly due to overcompensating for his other injury. The question is, what did he shoot?
Andrew Bynum: “In hindsight you shouldn’t go bowling, but it’s not more than anything I’ve done in my rehab.” Story: es.pn/U91fug
— Brian Windhorst (@WindhorstESPN) November 18, 2012
You see, he hurt his other knee bowling. It was already frustrating for a 76ers team that needs their best player on the court for what is certain to be a fight for playoff positioning throughout the season. Now, they have to wait even longer for him.
They’re very fortunate that the team is extraordinary defensively. They allow just 80.7 points per game, which is No. 1 in the NBA. Still, they will need Bynum if they want to go far in the playoffs. Just keep him out of the bowling alleys.
Piece originally written by HoopsHabit for Bleacher Report
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I wear many hats. I will become a father for the first time in July 2013. My work career started as an umpire, evolved to a blackjack dealer and has settled as a sportswriter. You could say I'm used to getting yelled at. I love me some Minnesota Timberwolves but currently call Phoenix home. I'm an eight handicap and a terrible leaper.