6 NBA Preseason Injuries with the Biggest Impact Around the League

Maxwell Ogden@MaxwellOgdenCorrespondent IIIOctober 22, 2012

6 NBA Preseason Injuries with the Biggest Impact Around the League

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    Upon the commencement of the 2012 NBA preseason, every general manager, coach and fan had the same thought in mind. That thought was something along the lines of, "Lord, please allow our players to remain healthy for the next month."

    Funny how things fail to go as planned.

    More than a handful of superstar players entered training camp with injuries hindering them. Just as many franchise players suffered severe injuries during the preseason, which signals how fragile a rested body can be.

    Quite the opposite of what one would expect, is it not?

    With the Summer dedicated to resting, however, it appears as if a rushed return to greatness can take it's toll.

    For the following six players, their injuries have sent waves throughout their respective organizations and the league as a whole. Their star power is grand and their value unparalleled, which has placed their team's season in jeopardy.

    So whose ailments have hurt the league the most?

Stephen Curry, Golden State Warriors

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    Position: Point Guard

    Age: 24

    Experience: 3 Seasons


    At this point, it has become more of an expectation than that of a disappointment when Stephen Curry gets hurt.

    Per a report via The Associated Press, Curry has suffered a sprained right ankle and will miss the remainder of the preseason (via ESPN). This injury strikes the same ankle that Curry had surgically repaired in 2011 and had arthroscopic surgery this past April.

    In other words, the former Davidson star has never officially recovered from an ankle injury he suffered nearly two years ago.

    After missing 40 games during the 2011-12 NBA regular season, it appeared as if the Summer would present the necessary opportunity for a recovery. Clearly the ankle is not ready for the grind of an NBA schedule, which suggests that Curry has just one option.

    Sit down and watch.

    It may not be what Warriors fans want to hear, but Curry needs to swallow his pride and ride the pine. Until that ankle is 100 percent, he is doing nothing but hurting the longevity of his career and the postseason chances of his team by playing through pain.

    Scope the ankle, spend months in recovery and return when you're actually ready. Otherwise, you're just risking a promising career over meaningless regular season appearances.


    2011-12 Season Averages

    26 GP, 21.23 PER, 14.7 PPG, 5.3 APG, 3.4 RPG, 1.5 SPG, 45.5% 3PT

Eric Gordon, New Orleans Hornets

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    Position: Shooting Guard

    Age: 23

    Experience: 4 Seasons


    Just when the New Orleans Hornets had built up a reputation as one of the teams to watch in 2012-13, star shooting guard Eric Gordon appears to be hindered by injury. This news should come as no surprise, as Gordon has missed 83 games over the past two seasons.

    According to John Reid of The Times-Picayune, Gordon could miss the remainder of the preseason due to poor conditioning. This comes as a result of the extensive process of his recovery from soreness in his surgically repaired knee.

    With Gordon absent, the void has been filled by preseason standout Brian Roberts.

    Roberts has put up averages of 9.8 points and 4.8 assists per game in 25.8 minutes of action. Unfortunately, a 26-year-old rookie from Dayton isn't going to fill the void left by a potential superstar's absence.

    Instead, the Hornets will suffer from the absence of their $58 million man.

    Gordon has been plagued by injuries since entering the league in 2008. This was a major aspect of the risk that the Hornets took upon re-signing him, which makes it virtually impossible to feel any form of pity for the franchise.

    With that being said, the promising core of Ryan Anderson, Anthony Davis, Austin Rivers and Gordon just became significantly weaker. The Hornets chances at an improbable postseason berth may have also been erased.

    Although Gordon could play as soon as the first game of the regular season, uncertainty surrounding yet another injury could derail his year.


    2011-12 Season Averages

    9 GP, 19.23 PER, 20.6 PPG, 3.4 APG, 2.8 RPG, 1.4 SPG

Kevin Love, Minnesota Timberwolves

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    Position: Power Forward

    Age: 24

    Experience: 4 Seasons

    Kevin Love of the Minnesota Timberwolves has established himself as one of the NBA's great individual performers. Although he has done nothing to improve the T-Wolves' chances at making the postseason, Love has become the face of the term "double-double."

    For those wondering why, check his league-leading 48 double-doubles in 2012.

    Unfortunately, that number may suffer a bit during the 2012-13 season. Despite there being a full 82 games this season, Love will be absent for anywhere up to two months of the regular season after breaking his right hand (via ESPN.com).

    As for how the injury occurred, you can chalk this one up to knuckle-down push-ups.

    The injury will sideline Love for six-to-eight weeks, thus placing the Minnesota Timberwolves postseason aspirations in doubt. With Ricky Rubio already sidelined with a Torn ACL, this injury could not have come at a worse time.

    It could also not have come in a more comical yet disappointing way.

    With Love sidelined and Rubio out with him, one can only expect the Timberwolves to face early-season struggles. In turn, the team's chances at making the postseason will suffer significantly as the franchise hopes to overcome the loss of their best two individual players.

    A devastating blow to the Timberwolves and the league as a whole.


    2011-12 Season Averages

    55 GP, 25.41 PER, 26.0 PPG, 13.3 RPG, 2.0 APG, 37.2% 3PT

Dirk Nowitzki, Dallas Mavericks

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    Position: Power Forward

    Age: 34

    Experience: 14 Seasons


    Dirk Nowitzki has been bothered by swelling in his right knee for virtually a full calendar year, dating back to the 2011-12 NBA regular season (via ESPN Dallas).

    Unfortunately for he and the Dallas Mavericks, simply resting and waiting wasn't enough to improve upon his current condition.

    According to Tim MacMahon of ESPN Dallas, Nowitzki was forced to undergo knee surgery. In turn, Nowitzki was projected to miss roughly six weeks, which would take up the entirety of the first month of the 2012-13 regular season.

    MacMahon has recently released an updated story in which he states that Nowitzki is ahead of schedule (via ESPN Dallas). In fact, MacMahon reports that Nowitzki could return in as soon as three weeks.

    Half the time he was expected to miss.

    Regardless of how long Nowitzki is out for, the Mavericks are certain to struggle. With Dirk absent, four of their potential starters are new to the team.

    That includes guards Darren Collison and O.J. Mayo, as well as the veteran frontcourt of Elton Brand and Chris Kaman. Although talented players, they are all entering their first year together after having spent 2012 with different franchises.

    The learning curve will be steep and Nowitzki's presence as a scorer and leader will be missed.

    The question is, can head coach Rick Carlisle create enough victories to keep the team in reasonable position for a postseason run?


    2011-12 Season Averages

    62 GP, 21.81 PER, 21.6 PPG, 6.8 RPG, 2.2 APG, 36.8% 3PT

Amar'e Stoudemire, New York Knicks

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    Position: Power Forward

    Age: 29

    Experience: 10 Seasons


    Amar'e Stoudemire has had a rough past six months with the New York Knicks. From yet another early postseason exit for the Knicks as a team to his lacerated hand via a punch to a fire hydrant, STAT has been the target of scrutiny (via Ken Berger of CBS Sports).

    Just as the 2012-13 regular season approaches, it appears as if Stoudemire has found himself in the line of fire once again.

    Stoudemire has suffered a ruptured popliteal cyst and will miss two-to-three weeks of action (via Jonah Ballow of NYKnicks.com).

    This injury will force STAT out of the team's season opener and could force him to miss up to 10 regular season games.

    This comes one season after Stoudemire missed 19 games in 2011-12.

    The injury couldn't have come at a worst time, as the Knicks are entering a season in which Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony were expected to patch up their chemistry issues. That process must be placed on hold until Stoudemire is healthy.

    With so much to prove and so little time to do it, Stoudemire must now make sure he is as healthy as possible before returning. If that means an extended period of absence, he must risk the media pummeling that he would inevitably endure.

    After all, nothing matters for the Knicks if they cannot escape the first round of the postseason.


    2011-12 Season Averages

    47 GP, 17.73 PER, 17.5 PPG, 7.8 RPG, 1.0 BPG, 0.8 SPG

John Wall, Washington Wizards

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    Position: Point Guard

    Age: 22

    Experience: 2 Seasons


    According to Michael Lee of The Washington Post, John wall will be sidelined for eight weeks after suffering a stress injury to his right knee. The Washington Wizards point guard was expected to lead the team to a run at the postseason in 2012-13.

    Unfortunately, a combination of A.J. Price and Shelvin Mack will be forced into Wall's place for at least the first month-and-a-half of the regular season. Forgive me for my pessimism, but that doesn't appear to be a formula for success.

    Not yet, at least.

    Wall is arguably the most underrated point guard in the NBA. Although his shot selection and decision-making must improve, he is the only player in the NBA to have averaged at least 16.0 points, 8.0 assists and 4.0 rebounds.

    Only two others players in the league even reached the 16.0 point and 8.0 assist mark. Those two players were Chris Paul of the Los Angeles Clippers and Deron Williams of the Brooklyn Nets.

    With his place in rare company established, it isn't too difficult to understand why fans in Washington have displayed optimism for this coming season. Without him, however, the Wizards are the same bottom-five team in the league as they were a year ago.

    Even with the quality of their role players as improved as they are.


    2011-12 Season Averages

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