NBA News: Returning Players Who Will Energize Playoff Contenders

Josh SchochAnalyst IIINovember 22, 2012

PHOENIX, AZ - MARCH 12:  Kevin Love #42 of the Minnesota Timberwolves reacts after hitting a three point shot past Steve Nash #13 of the Phoenix Suns during the NBA game at US Airways Center on March 12, 2012 in Phoenix, Arizona. The Timberwolves defeated the Suns 127-124.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

The news around the NBA this week surrounds players returning from injury, many of whom are trying to adjust quickly and help boost their team as they look to take top spots in the postseason.

It's still very early in the season, but as these guys come back, their respective teams are hoping it will be the shot in the arm needed to start a winning streak and get hot enough to shoot up the standings.

Of the many returning players this week, these are the guys who will help their teams take that extra step.


Dwyane Wade, Miami Heat

Let's start with an obvious one.

Wade is the second-best player on the NBA's best team, but he has missed a few games for the Heat recently.

ESPN's Michael Wallace details why the Heat need a healthy Wade if they are going to make some noise once again this season, and he raises some good points.

Miami needs Wade at his best because it has little experience without him. If his foot becomes a recurring problem, the team may be in trouble.

LeBron James can't do it all himself (just ask the city of Cleveland) and he was injured during the NBA Finals last season.

Just as Batman needs Robin, LeBron needs Wade, and his return on Wednesday sparked a tough victory for the Heat over the Milwaukee Bucks in overtime.


Andrew Bogut, Golden State Warriors

Bogut is among the NBA's best centers, ranking third in my mind behind Dwight Howard and Andrew Bynum.

The Warriors need their big man to be healthy, but it appears that he will still be out for a few days.

INJURY Andrew Bogut hopeful to return to practice activity with the team next Monday.

— Golden St. Warriors (@warriors) November 20, 2012

The Warriors are 7-5 this season and are one-and-a-half games behind the Los Angeles Clippers in the Pacific Division.

Bogut has played in just three games this season, and hasn't been at his best all year. However, once he comes back and joins Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, David Lee and Harrison Barnes, this is going to be a dangerous team.


Kevin Love, Minnesota Timberwolves

Love made a triumphant return on Wednesday from a broken hand, much earlier than anyone could have anticipated.

While Minnesota lost the game, Love went for 34 points and 14 rebounds and looked good. The team has now lost three consecutive games, but if Love continues to play at the level he did on Wednesday night we can expect those losses to turn into W's.

The team is currently 5-5 and is in a four-way tie for seventh in the West. But with its best player back and apparently better than ever, we could see the team rattle off a few straight wins to get back into the thick of things and compete for a top seed in the playoffs.

Welcome back, Mr. Love.