An untimely injury can surely derail a team's hopes in the middle of a playoff race. Conversely, the timely return of an injured player can spark renewed life in the thick of the stretch run.
There are currently a handful of quality players who are injured but are very likely going to return. Their return could not be helpful, but it could prove to be the difference between making or missing the playoffs—and even winning the championship or coming up just a hair short.
Here are eight players who could provide a jolt of energy and could drastically alter the playoff race. Quite frankly, the playoff outlook for certain teams is contingent upon the health of these important contributors.