NBA: Each team’s greatest comeback from injury in franchise history

(Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
(Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images) /
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Los Angeles Lakers, Elgin Baylor
Los Angeles Lakers, Elgin Baylor (Original Caption) 11/4/71 /

Greatest injury comeback in Los Angeles Lakers history: Elgin Baylor

Dislocated knee cap

Hall of Famer Elgin Baylor had quite the decorated career during his run with the Los Angeles Lakers, but persistent knee trouble nearly derailed all of that towards the end of his career.

Baylor won the NBA Rookie of the Year award in 1958-59 while taking home the All-Star MVP award the same year. He averaged 34.8 points, 19.8 rebounds and 5.1 assists per game during the 1960-61 season.

It looked like a dislocated knee cap suffered during the year showed the limits of his injury, after appearing in just 65 games during the 1965-66 season and producing 16.6 points, 9.6 rebounds and 3.4 assists per game.

It was the first season Baylor didn’t make an All-Star appearance, breaking his streak of seven straight seasons in the All-Star game. At 31 years of age, the game had shown the wear-and-tear it’d had on Baylor but he managed to make a comeback in 1966-67.

Baylor returned to his usual self, putting up 26.6 points, 12.8 rebounds and 3.1 assists per game and an appearance in the All-Star game. He recorded four contests with 40 points or more after posting just one a year prior. He also posted three games with at least 20 points and 20 rebounds, showing no ill effects from his knee injury.

Baylor would go on to three more All-Star games while averaging at least 24.0 points per game until the 1970-71 season. A career-ending knee injury caused him to miss all but two games, then the following season, he played in just nine games, before retiring. Not long after that, he was inducted into the Naismith Hall of Fame in 1977.