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Players Who Will Bounce Back from Injury in 2012-13

Maxwell OgdenCorrespondent IIIOctober 21, 2016

Players Who Will Bounce Back from Injury in 2012-13

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    One of the most unfortunate truths about professional athletics is that every athlete is subject to a potentially severe injury. No matter how beloved they are, no fan support can protect a player from this harsh reality.

    Everything can end in just one painful, heartbreaking moment. Fortunately for the following players, they will be able to recover from their severe injuries and return to their previous form.

    Some players are more well-known than others, while a select few had far more high-profile injuries than their counterparts. Regardless of who it is, each of these players has gone through a grueling process of recovering from their career-altering ailments.

    For some, the recovery process remains a part of their everyday activities.

    Regardless of what stage they have reached in their road to a return, each will thrive on their comeback campaign. As for who they are, the following slides will offer insight into just that.

LaMarcus Aldridge, Portland Trail Blazers

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    Position: Power Forward

    Age: 27

    Experience: 6 Seasons

    Recovering From: Right Hip Surgery

     

    One of the quietly severe injuries from the 2011-12 NBA season came when the Portland Trail Blazers lost LaMarcus Aldridge in mid-April. After playing 55 games and making his first career All-Star game, Aldridge's surgically repaired right hip began to bother him.

    There was a slight labral tear in the same location that Aldridge had surgery on while attending the University of Texas.

    As the 2012-13 NBA season rolls around, expect to see Aldridge return to his All-Star form. He's no longer going to be delegated to creating his own shot, as rookie point guard Damian Lillard will be able to work the pick-and-roll to perfection.

    Furthermore, Aldridge will no longer be the lone athlete in the frontcourt. Although Marcus Camby was sound on defense, his athletic abilities were limited by age, thus placing a greater burden on Aldridge on both ends of the floor.

    With both Meyers Leonard and J.J. Hickson at the 5, however, Aldridge can play with less of a burden on both ends.

    Hickson has proven capable of scoring, averaging 15.1 points per game upon debuting for the Trail Blazers on March 23. He also averaged 9.2 rebounds a night during the final month of the season, which takes an even greater burden off of Aldridge's shoulders.

    With more support in the frontcourt and improved quality on the perimeter, expect Aldridge's numbers to rise and his workload to lessen. A grand return from injury is in store.

     

    2011-12 Season Averages

    55 GP, 22.73 PER, 21.7 PPG, 8.0 RPG, 2.4 APG, 0.9 SPG, 0.8 BPG

Andrew Bogut, Golden State Warriors

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    Position: Center

    Age: 27

    Experience: 7 Seasons

    Recovering From: Fractured Left Ankle

     

    It seems as if Andrew Bogut suffers a season-ending injury every single year that he plays. Although some will claim that the injuries have nothing to do with each other so he is not "injury-prone," 150 missed games in seven years proves otherwise.

    With that being said, don't expect Bogut to return as a shell of who he used to be. Look for the same player who led the NBA in blocks per game in 2011.

    The Golden State Warriors have one of the best perimeters in all of basketball. Virtually every perimeter player they have is lethal from beyond the arc. Brandon Rush and rookie Harrison Barnes also provide potentially elite defense. 

    The issue for the Warriors is on the interior, where David Lee is a dominant force on offense but laughable on D. His nightly 20 and 10 will impress on the stat sheet, but teams have scored at virtual will against the Warriors due to their lack of a protector of the rim.

    Enter Andrew Bogut.

    Bogut has long been one of the better shot alterers in the league. He led the Milwaukee Bucks to an average of 92.7 points allowed during the 2011 NBA season. With Golden State, expect the same type of results.

    Also look for Bogut to make his first All-Star Game appearance of his seven-year career.

     

     

    2011-12 Season Averages

    12 GP, 14.92 PER, 11.3 PPG, 8.3 RPG, 2.6 APG, 2.0 BPG, 1.0 SPG

Stephen Curry, Golden State Warriors

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    Position: Point Guard

    Age: 24

    Experience: 3 Seasons

    Recovering From: Arthroscopic Right Ankle Surgery

     

    After receiving surgery on his right ankle during the 2011-12 NBA offseason, Stephen Curry came back with a vengeance during the regular season. Curry looked to prove himself worthy of the extraordinary praise local fans had given him, but fell short due to the one thing he could not avoid.

    Curry sprained his surgically repaired ankle on multiple occasions and was eventually shut down for the rest of the season (via ESPN.com). Now, the long road to recovery begins again.

    After missing 40 games during the 2011-12 regular season, it is fair to label Curry as injury-prone. What is not fair, however, is to ignore the talent that the Davidson alum possesses.

    After all, the world doubted him coming out of college, and look how bad he made them look.

    As we approach the 2012-13 season, Curry will join a cast of injury-prone players that could potentially lead the Warriors to a postseason berth. He will also be the heart of the franchise as their point guard, which places the burden of facilitating upon him.

    With a plethora of sharpshooters and two excellent big men, Curry will thrive in said role. Although making the All-Star Game is a virtual impossibility in a stacked Western Conference, Curry will garner headlines as he leads GSW to a surprising season.

    A season that will offer a clean bill of health to one of the fastest rising point guards in the game.

     

    2011-12 Season Averages

    26 GP, 21.23 PER, 14.7 PPG, 5.3 APG, 3.1 RPG, 1.5 SPG, 45.5% 3PT

Dwight Howard, Los Angeles Lakers

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    Position: Center

    Age: 26

    Experience: 8 Seasons

    Recovering From: Herniated Disk in Spine

     

    Although we constantly acknowledge Derrick Rose's heartbreaking knee injury, we rarely discuss what was the most devastating injury of the 2011-12 season. That ailment, of course, came when Dwight Howard suffered a herniated disk in his spine and was ruled out for the remainder of the season.

    In turn, the Magic dropped 10 of their final 14 games, including a a 4-1 series loss to the Indiana Pacers in the playoffs.

    After having surgery on his back, Howard began the long road to recovery with a trade to the Los Angeles Lakers (via ESPN.com). Howard has already begun to develop a rapport with his star-studded supporting cast, including Kobe Bryant, Steve Nash, Pau Gasol and Antawn Jamison.

    To put it simply, Dwight Howard has never even imagined being surrounded by this much talent. While with the Orlando Magic, Howard was never even paired with one player of that caliber.

    During the 2012-13 NBA season, Howard's role will be to protect the rim at all costs. The offense will be virtually instant with Nash, Bryant, Gasol and Jamison, which makes D-12's job on offense quite simple.

    Crash the boards, score off of the pick-and-roll and bring the rim down. You know, what he had been doing in Orlando.

    The difference in Los Angeles, however, is that Howard is no longer the focal point of an offense. One could argue that he is is the fourth-best offensive player on the Lakers, although his physical dominance would thrust him to the top of any team's list.

    With that being noted, expect Howard to finish with virtually the same 20 points and 14 rebounds you're used to seeing. The man is too good off of the pick-and-roll to be taken out of the flow of things, while Steve Nash is the master of the craft.

    Paired together, expect a lighter workload and an elevated level of production from D-12.

     

    2011-12 Season Averages

    54 GP, 24.29 PER, 20.6 PPG, 14.5 RPG, 1.9 APG, 2.1 BPG, 1.5 SPG

Jeremy Lin, Houston Rockets

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    Position: Point Guard

    Age: 24

    Experience: 2 Seasons

    Recovering From: Torn Left Meniscus

     

    Jeremy Lin took the world by storm in 2012, dominating the league for 26 marvelous games. Unfortunately, Linsanity came to an abrupt end when a seemingly minor injury was later reported to be a torn left meniscus.

    We need not say that he missed the remainder of the season.

    Lin has since relocated and will now be the starting point guard for the Houston Rockets. With a powerful Asian fan base due to the Yao Ming era, Lin will instantly become a fan favorite in his region of Texas.

    He will also put together quite the regular season as he shines from a statistical standpoint.

    Lin will continue to score, as Kevin Martin is the only proven commodity on the Rockets' entire roster. He will also look to develop the pick-and-roll game with his young frontcourt, thus leading to a great deal of assists.

    It will also lead to a high number of turnovers.

    Such is life with the youngster, of which the Rockets are well aware. They believe in his star power and there will be moments in which he flashes that, orchestrating fourth-quarter comebacks and thriving when the game is on the line.

    Unfortunately, the Rockets may not have the talent surrounding Lin to make the postseason. If that proves to be the case, his star power will be diminished

     

    2011-12 Season Averages

    35 GP, 19.97 PER, 14.6 PPG, 6.2 APG, 3.1 RPG, 1.6 SPG

Joakim Noah, Chicago Bulls

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    Position: Center

    Age: 27

    Experience: 5 Seasons

    Recovering From: Severely Sprained Left Ankle

     

    Just when it looked like it couldn't get any worse for the Chicago Bulls, Derrick Rose found himself a friend to ride the pine with: Joakim Noah.

    The Bulls' center followed Rose's torn ACL by severely spraining his left ankle in Game 3 of the Bulls' postseason series against the Philadelphia 76ers. In turn, Noah missed the remainder of the series and was sidelined from France's run at the 2012 London Olympics.

    With just under six months to recover, expect Noah to bounce back in a major way during the 2012-13 regular season. Also expect the big man to do the unexpected as he secures his first career All-Star Game selection.

    Noah is an all-out energy player that puts any opponent's effort to shame. The former Florida Gator will crash the boards, protect the rim and finish in traffic as well as anyone. He has also developed a consistent stroke from mid-range.

    Even if his shooting form is as difficult to watch at as any in recent memory.

    What is possibly the most quiet aspect of Noah's game is how sound he is at passing out of the post. Noah finished second amongst all centers with an average of 2.5 assists per game. He's also improved his back-to-the-basket skills, which suggests that another year of development will take his game to the next level.

    Expect big things from Joakim Noah in 2012-13 as he leads the Chicago Bulls in Derrick Rose's absence.

     

    2011-12 Season Averages

    19.59 PER, 10.2 PPG, 9.8 RPG, 2.5 APG, 1.4 BPG

Derrick Rose, Chicago Bulls

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    Position: Point Guard

    Age: 24

    Experience: 4 Seasons

    Recovering From: Torn Left ACL

     

    Do we really need to revisit what happened to Derrick Rose? The world stood still, the endorsement deals flooded in and the commercials were created.

    What we all lose sight of, however, is that Rose may actually return this season. If that is the case, we could see the 2011 NBA MVP for half of the regular season and the entirety of the 2013 postseason.

    Who's to say that he couldn't return to his All-NBA form by then?

    Rose will come back with a vengeance. He will have a more developed jump shot, a feel for how his body works and rediscovered rapport with his teammates come the postseason, which suggests Rose will shine as we all expect him to.

    Most important, Rose will be surrounded by a great deal of talent and a top-tier coaching staff. If anyone can work Derrick Rose into the game plan to perfection, it is head coach Tom Thibodeau.

    With these factors all taken into account, there is no reason that Rose cannot lead the Bulls to a postseason run. Although a meeting with the Miami Heat would be daunting, Rose could find his Bulls in the Top 3 of the East considering how well the team has played without him in the past.

    Look for D-Rose to remind us of why he won the 2011 MVP award in 2013.

     

    2011-12 Season Averages

    39 GP, 21.8 PPG, 7.9 APG, 3.4 RPG, 0.9 SPG

Iman Shumpert, New York Knicks

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    Position: Shooting Guard

    Age: 22

    Experience: 1 Season

    Recovering From: Torn Left ACL

     

    The first week of the 2012 NBA postseason had to be the worst in the history of knees. Derrick Rose tore his ACL, Baron Davis dislocated his knee cap and Iman Shumpert found his left ACL being torn as well.

    Expect Shumpert to join D-Rose for a second time, as he too returns from injury to shine during the second half of the 2013 regular season.

    For those unfamiliar with who Shump is, the 2011-12 rookie started 35 games for the New York Knicks. He proved to be one of the best perimeter defenders in the NBA, which went beyond the belief of Knicks loyalists.

    Shump was the only rookie to receive votes in the Defensive Player of the Year selection process. Elite may be a label that we can already place upon Iman Shumpert.

    As Shumpert recovers from injury, he will be joining a Knicks team that has taken a defensive-minded approach. He will be a younger and more athletic option at the 2 than Ronnie Brewer presents, which will lead to a gradual return to his starting position.

    Come the postseason, expect Shumpert to make up for lost time as he locks down whichever opponent he faces.

     

    2011-12 Season Averages

    59 GP, 10.83 PER, 9.5 PPG, 3.2 RPG, 2.8 APG, 1.7 SPG

Dwyane Wade, Miami Heat

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    Position: Shooting Guard

    Age: 30

    Experience: 9 Seasons

    Recovering From: Arthroscopic Left Knee Surgery

     

    It seem as if Dwyane Wade has never played an NBA game without an injury hindering his performance. With career averages of 25.2 points, 6.2 assists, 5.1 rebounds, 1.8 steals and 1.0 blocks per game on 48.6 percent shooting, it doesn't appear as if he's bothered much by any ailments.

    Nor does it appear as if a recovery from knee surgery will have an affect on D-Wade's performance in 2012-13.

    Wade has proven to be one of the game's greatest warriors. He constantly fights off injuries and illnesses to perform at an All-NBA caliber level, lifting his team to victory more times than not. Don't forget, D-Wade was putting up virtually the same numbers as LeBron James before they came together.

    The difference? Wade was a 6'4" shooting guard who got by on skill and LeBron James a 6'8" point forward that overwhelmed with athleticism.

    With a weaker burden upon his consistent greatness, Wade will thrive. Ray Allen is the greatest shooting-guard reserve Wade has ever played with, which suggests that he will feel comfortable resting when need be.

    For the first time in his career, Wade may actually reach 100 percent health. If that proves to be the case, every team in the NBA should be fearing for their postseason livelihood.

    And believe you me, that will be the case.

     

    2011-12 Season Averages

    49 GP, 26.37 PER, 22.1 PPG, 4.8 RPG, 4.6 APG, 1.7 SPG, 1.3 BPG, 49.7% FG

John Wall, Washington Wizards

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    Position: Point Guard

    Age: 22

    Experience: 2 Seasons

    Recovering From: Non-Traumatic Stress Injury to Left Knee

     

    One of the most underreported stories of this offseason was the fact that John Wall suffered a non-traumatic stress injury to his left knee. As a result, he will be sidelined for roughly eight weeks and miss at least the first month of the regular season.

    To say the Washington Wizards will have a gaping hole in their lineup would be an understatement.

    Upon returning from injury, expect Wall to make up for any opportunities he missed via injury. He will score at a high pace and find that the improvement of the roster around him will lead to nothing short of drastically easier facilitating.

    Having a spot-up shooter in rookie Bradley Beal will bring greater versatility to his drive-and-dish tendencies. With Nene and Emeka Okafor on the interior, he will also find life to be easier as he has legitimate pick-and-roll partners.

    Look for forwards Trevor Ariza, Kevin Seraphin and Jan Vesely to be of equal importance to what could be postseason contention for a much-improved Wizards core.

    As for Wall on his own, time off due to injury should offer him time to study game film and put his style of play into perspective. We all know of his athletic gifts and fundamental reliability, but Wall must find the proper balance between the two.

    Should he do so, this will be a year of elite proportions for the former Kentucky Wildcat. Well, unless he has already reached that plateau.

    During the 2011-12 regular season, Wall was one of three players in the NBA to average at least 16.0 points and 8.0 assists. The other two? Chris Paul and Deron Williams.

    At 22, John Wall is already a top-tier individual player. It's time he proves that he is capable of leading his team to the promised land.

     

    2011-12 Season Averages

    66 GP, 17.77 PER, 16.3 PPG, 8.0 APG, 4.5 RPG, 1.4 SPG, 0.9 BPG

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