The NBA regular season is one of the more grueling regular seasons of any sport, consisting of 82 games over a span of around 5 and a half months, with little time for rest in between.
Injuries have a knack for rearing their ugly head at the worst of times, which often leaves title contenders struggling for quality players toppled with a lack of chemistry with their replacements.
Here are some potential injury concerns which could greatly affect the championship dreams of title contenders.
The New Jersey... ahem, Brooklyn Nets created enough hype this offseason to warrant their fans thinking a championship contending team has come to Brooklyn.
While their starting five of Deron Williams, Joe Johnson, Gerald Wallace, Kris Humphries and Brook Lopez is definitely impressive, they have also swallowed up the Nets' cap space, leaving their bench with a lot to be desired.
Brook Lopez is the only listed center on the team, and whilst he insists that the injury which held him to just five games last season doesn’t worry him, we all know how one injury can lead to another with big men. Just ask Andrew Bynum or (gasp) Greg Oden.
Any sort of injury to the Nets' starting big man would shatter any hopes of bringing a championship to Brooklyn.
Philly fans finally got to see the end of Andre Iguodala in a 76ers uniform after years of failing to get this team out of the second round.
By sending Iguodala and an unproven Maurice Harkless out, they in turn received Jason Richardson and Andrew Bynum, an All-Star center who can take this team to new heights.
However, Bynum had a horrific run of injuries over the course of his short NBA career, and another big injury would leave the 76ers having to start Spencer Hawes at the 5; not your ideal championship-caliber center.
It would all but end any hope of success the 76ers might have found in the postseason.
The Boston Celtics decided to reload rather than rebuild this year, a clear sign that they are destined for yet another run at a title this season.
Despite losing Ray Allen to the Miami Heat, the Celts were able to pick up Courtney Lee and Jason Terry via free agency, Jared Sullinger and Fab Melo on draft night and have a healthy Jeff Green ready for camp.
While this roster may now seem deep, chemistry must be developed for the Celtics to be considered serious contenders this year. There are no doubts in my mind that inspirational leader Kevin Garnett will lead by example for this team, and help put them in the right direction.
While Rajon Rondo may now be the best player on this roster, the 36-year-old Garnett remains the heart and soul of the Celtics.
Garnett’s 2009 knee injury hampered any hopes of a Celtic repeat that they had, and this season will be no different if a similar incident were to occur.
Oh, how an injury to Chris Bosh could truly let the media and fans know just how important he is to the Miami Heat.
If Bosh were to suffer recurring abdominal strains again this season, the Heat’s lack of a quality big man, or any sort of big man, would put too much of the load on LeBron James and Dwyane Wade.
Speaking of the latter, Wade is currently rehabbing from an injury of his own.
While the Heat found success during the 2011/12 regular season without Wade, going 13-1 largely due to LeBron’s otherworldly season, the postseason runs at a much slower tempo, requiring teams to operate in the half-court.
Even with Ray Allen as a back-up, no Dwyane Wade will undoubtedly make it that much harder for the Heat to repeat as champions this season.
As mentioned, the Lakers traded oft-injured big man Andrew Bynum in the deal which landed them Dwight Howard.
Widely regarded as the best center in the game, Dwight has been lucky enough to get through his first eight seasons injury free.
That nasty back injury which kept the six-time NBA All-Star out of the final 12 games of the shortened lockout season is still giving the big man trouble.
While Howard has made it clear that he plans to be in uniform on opening night, I wouldn’t be so confident if I were a Laker fan.
Big men have a history of having injuries repeat themselves once they begin, and hopefully for Dwight and the Lakers, this isn’t the case, as losing the most dominant defensive force in the NBA for an extended period would leave big Pau Gasol a lot worse for wear, and go a long way to diminishing the Lakers' hopes of returning the Larry O’Brien trophy back to La La Land.