Zach Randolph and 10 Crucial Injuries Killing Teams' Playoff Hopes

James ToljCorrespondent IIJanuary 26, 2012

Zach Randolph and 10 Crucial Injuries Killing Teams' Playoff Hopes

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    Every season there are a ton of injuries in the NBA but some players, like Zach Randolph, mean more to a team than others do.

    While Randolph's injury is obviously dimming his teams' playoff hopes, what other teams have been decimated by players being out?

    The New York Knicks need Baron Davis to get on the floor as soon as possible. The Boston Celtics and Minnesota Timberwolves are dropping players like flies.

    Even the Milwaukee Bucks' playoff chances are fading slowly due to the injury of a former number one overall pick.

    So, who needs to get healthy fast or their teams won't be playing after the regular season? 

Zach Randolph, Memphis Grizzlies

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    The Memphis Grizzlies have had a decent stretch without Zach Randolph. They ripped off seven wins in a row before losing to the Portland Trail Blazers, but was that fool's gold?

    In that seven game stretch, the Grizzlies beat just one team currently with a winning record—the Chicago Bulls without Derrick Rose.

    Randolph is averaging 14.8 points and 7.6 rebounds this season. He is second on the team in both categories.

    Now, Memphis faces an extremely tough schedule in the coming weeks, and without Randolph, the team might fall into a major slump.

Baron Davis, New York Knicks

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    Baron Davis is just what the New York Knicks need, and it's too bad he has sat out the first four weeks of the season with a herniated disk.

    The New York offense has been too reliant on isolation which has made it overwhelmingly stagnant.

    It's obvious that the Knicks need a floor general, and after letting Chauncey Billups go, Davis is their only shot of having the team that many New York fans envisioned.

    Luckily for the Knicks, the Eastern Conference doesn't have too much competition. But after losing six out of seven games, New York's playoffs hopes are dimming quickly.

Brook Lopez, New Jersey Nets

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    Even before the season began, there weren't too many people who thought the New Jersey Nets had a shot at the playoffs.

    When starting center Brook Lopez broke his foot in the Nets' last preseason game, any hope of entering the playoffs went out the window.

    Last season, he led the team in scoring with 20.4 points per game. While Lopez isn't a dominant defender, he did give the team a combination of scoring and defense that neither Mehmut Okur or Johan Petro can provide.

    Lopez's future with the team is uncertain as he becomes a restricted free agent at year's end, but sitting with a 6-13 record, they sure miss his presence this season.

The Injured Boston Celtics

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    Where should I begin?

    The Boston Celtics have had a string of injuries this season that hasn't been easy for the team to work around. Nearly every player on the roster has had to sit out at some point, and the Celtics have only played 16 games.

    Currently, a number of key players are listed day-to-day. Rajon Rondo, Ray Allen, Jermaine O'Neal, Chris Wilcox, Keyon Dooling and Mickael Pietrus are all on the injury report

    Jeff Green, who recently visited his teammates according to ESPN, isn't going to play a single game this year because of a non-basketball injury (aortic aneurysm). This may be the biggest hit the team had to take. Green is extremely versatile and the Celtics traded their starting center, Kendrick Perkins, for him last season.

    Fortunately for the Celtics, they play in the Eastern Conference and a 7-9 start won't be impossible to overcome, but it isn't going to be easy either.

Marcus Thornton, Sacramento Kings

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    Not that the Sacramento Kings have been playing well with him, but without the guy leading the team in scoring and steals, Marcus Thornton, expect the Kings to be even worse.

    Sacramento is in disarray and their first-round pick, Jimmer Fredette, isn't playing great basketball.

    The Kings currently sit at 6-13, and Thornton is expected to miss one or two weeks with a hematoma in his left thigh according to Jason Jones of the Sacbee.com and the team.

    I am not sure that Thornton, or five Thortons, could save the Kings' season but having him over the next few weeks would at least help out.

Andrew Bogut, Milwaukee Bucks

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    When Andrew Bogut is on the floor he almost always plays well. However, the big man has missed quite a few games over his career.

    In a turn of bad luck, Bogut fractured his ankle Wednesday according to the heraldsun.com and is out indefinitely.

    The Bucks are currently 7-10, but with a couple of wins they would be able to get an early cushion on a playoff spot.

    Milwaukee can't afford to go through another stretch where they lose five games, which has already happened once. And Bogut won't be there to help stop the slide if it happens again.

    His all-around play will certainly be missed.

Eric Gordon, New Orleans Hornets

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    After not fully appreciating Eric Gordon's talent during his rookie year with the Los Angeles Clippers, I am now one of his biggest fans.

    When he was hurt, the Clippers just weren't the same team.

    Making things worse for the New Orleans Hornets, they don't have Blake Griffin to take over in Gordon's absence.

    The Hornets looked surprisingly good to start the season, but without Gordon they don't have much of a chance against their tough Western Conference competition.

    The Hornets sit at just 3-15 on the year, and after already missing a number of games, Gordon is going to miss another three to six weeks according to wwl.com.

    Good luck to the Hornets. They will need it.

Manu Ginobili, San Antonio Spurs

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    Manu Ginobili is a vital component to the San Antonio Spurs' future and playoff success.

    Ginobili's injury last season really damaged the Spurs momentum and expect this injury, a broken hand which takes him out for a couple of months as reported by ESPN on January 5th, to do the same.

    Before he was hurt, Ginobili was averaging 17.4 points a game (second to only Tony Parker).

    While the team has found a way to stay afloat, it will be a struggle to secure a playoff spot as the season progresses without the Argentinian star.

All the Minnesota Timberwolves

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    With Ricky Rubio running the team, the Minnesota Timberwolves have become one of most exciting teams to watch in all of the NBA.

    If only they could remain healthy.

    Michael Beasley makes the team all the more exciting and is a great scoring threat, (although he hasn't played great this year) but he has been injured for the majority of the season.

    Currently, Darko Milicic, Anthony Toliver and Luke Ridnour are day-to-day and Brad Miller is out.

    The Timberwolves deserve the honor of being named the best team with a losing record in the Western Conference, (and maybe the NBA) but the team needs to remain healthy and play with each other for a few weeks before it really starts to mesh.

    Until it does, Minnesota will remain around or under .500.

Greg Oden, Portland Trail Blazers

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    Greg Oden just can't make it on the court.  In his four years in the NBA (this is his fifth), Oden has only played 82 games and has played just two years.

    This season isn't any different, as Oden is still recovering from microfracture surgery to his knee in 2010 and could miss the whole year according to portlandtribune.com. His NBA future is uncertain.

    The team must feel pretty unlucky after Brandon Roy, one of the team's best players, announced his retirement due to degenerative knees before the season.

    Without Oden or Roy the team has held down the fort. Portland is 11-8 on the year.

    Now, the only question is can they keep it up?

    While it is hard to tell how much Oden would help his team (and Roy for that matter), the depth and defensive presence couldn't hurt Portland's playoff hopes.