Derrick Rose, Amar'e Stoudemire and the NBA's 15 Most Fragile Players

James PearsonCorrespondent IDecember 8, 2012

Derrick Rose, Amar'e Stoudemire and the NBA's 15 Most Fragile Players

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    Almost every player in the NBA gets banged up at some point during the course of the season.

    Some are just better at it than others.

    And a select few are just plain unlucky.

    NBA basketball is a physical game, and players open themselves up to a potential injury on any given night. Whether it's their style of play, body type or bad luck, some get hurt more often than most.

    Here are the 15 stars that carry the fragile label.

Derrick Rose

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    Put Derrick Rose into that unlucky category. Prior to his torn ACL, he had only missed five games in his entire career. However, with his style of play it's hard to be shocked that he went down.

    Unfortunate, yes, but not all that surprising.

    Rose relies on his athleticism and explosiveness more than most. One only hopes that he can get his knee back to full strength so he will be able to attack with the same ferocity that earned him an MVP award.

    A tremendous athlete with a strong frame, the Chicago Bulls and the NBA need Rose back soon. With his work ethic and determination, expect him to make an Adrian Peterson-like return from ACL surgery.

Amar'e Stoudemire

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    Amar'e Stoudemire is targeting a Christmas day return. Um…Merry Christmas, New York Knicks?

    What made Amar'e great was the way he could attack the rim and dominate with his elite athleticism. After multiple injuries and missed games, it's safe to say that Stoudemire has lost some of his explosiveness. Now opponents will be able to get out and defend his mid-range shot without worrying about getting blown by to the rim.

    The Knicks likely have no idea what kind of player they will be getting upon his return. They will take whatever they can get from Stoudemire from this point on, but it looks like they are doing just fine without him.

    Still, at only age 30, thanks to his fragile frame, Stoudemire has the body of a 50-year-old. That makes him an injury risk for the remainder of his career.

Stephen Curry

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    A contract extension for Stephen Curry, who was coming off ankle surgery, was a risky move considering his past. But right now, the Golden State Warriors are looking very fortunate that they signed him before the season started.

    Of course that can change with any crossover, as Curry owns ankles that appear to be made out of Styrofoam.

    His small frame and tender ankles will leave him susceptible to injuries throughout his career. However, he has shown ability to make it through the bulk of an entire season before, so there is hope that he can put his ankle problems behind him.

    If he can keep it up just being able to stay on the floor, we may be in the midst of seeing the next great point guard in the NBA.

Andrew Bogut

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    Golden State Warriors fans, the hope that all of Andrew Bogut's injuries were just fluky occurrences is now all but gone.

    Bogut has suffered through some unlucky breaks throughout his career, but as he is now out indefinitely, suffering from the same ankle injury that he had surgery on, it looks like the rigors of the NBA game have taken their toll on the 7-foot, 260-pound center.

    Now Bogut might be back in a couple of weeks, months or maybe not at all this season. He might even be out next season too. Who knows?

    He may one day come back at full strength and be the player he once was. But right now, the odds of him retiring should be about the same as those of him helping lead the Warriors to the playoffs.

Dwyane Wade

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    If the Miami Heat are even going to think about repeating as NBA champions, they will need a healthy Dwyane Wade.

    Right now, that doesn't seem all that likely.

    Wade is performing at the lowest level of his career since his rookie year. His poor play can be blamed on poor health. Surgeries and nagging injuries have caught up to the 30-year-old, and he just doesn't have the same burst that garnered him a finals MVP trophy. Actually, nothing in his game represents anything close to that MVP finals performance. 

    The Heat are aware of this too, as he has was limited to 33 minutes per game for all of last season, as well as for the start of this one.

    His once top-flight athleticism allowed to him to dominate games. Now, as he has slowed down, it's tough to imagine what a team led by Wade without LeBron James starring on it would look like for an 82-game season.

    Don't count him out completely when playoff time comes, but with his tendency to miss games, his MVP-like performances are a thing of the past.

Brandon Roy

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    Everyone associated with the NBA hopes that Brandon Roy can come back from his latest setback. But his next effort to play is likely his last.

    Roy's knees got so bad that he had to retire at the age of 27.

    He rehabbed himself back into a roster spot with the Minnesota Timberwolves, but he is literally playing with bone-on-bone pain in both of his knees.

    It's not even a question of whether Roy will get injured, it's a matter of him withstanding the pain.

    Even if he does come back from his latest surgery, his knees won't allow him to be anywhere close to the player he once was, if a player at all. 

    Sadly, he is just another former member of the Portland Trailblazers to have his career derailed by injuries. Maybe it's something in Portland's water?

Andrew Bynum

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    If one can type "Andrew By" into Google and the first thing that comes up after his full name is injury, then Andrew Bynum is indeed fragile.

    Entering his eighth year the All-Star center has a career-best 65 season starts. Sixty-five!

    And for all the injury-plagued talk that Andrew Bogut receives, Bynum, selected in the same draft, has played in fewer games than Bogut!

    Seemingly an injury waiting to happen, he is a stud when he plays.

    Coming off a season where he averaged 18 points and 11 rebounds per game, Bynum is now he is recovering from orthokine (thank you, Kobe Bryant) surgery on both of his knees. It has left him yet to play a game in a Philadelphia Sixers uniform and even more susceptible to injury.

Eric Gordon

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    Really, it's easy to forget how good at basketball Eric Gordon is.

    Signed to a max deal in the offseason (that NBA lockout sure worked) Gordon has yet to play a game this season after playing in only nine games last season. That's after he missed 26 games the season before.

    And that's after he missed 46 games his first two seasons with the Los Angeles Clippers.

    Saying he is fragile is a wild understatement

    Gordon has the talent (from what I remember) to be one of the top shooting guards in the NBA. He just needs his body to allow that to happen.

Ricky Rubio

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    Lost in the wonderment that is Ricky Rubio is his frail frame.

    He appears so fragile in his new commercial that portrays him having a backyard-wrestling match that it really doesn't seem all that fake. 

    Still recovering from ACL surgery, the biggest concern about Rubio is the way he tore his knee. It didn't take much for him to suffer that devastating injury. We can only hope this was a fluky occurrence.

    Regardless, his frail frame leaves him open to the physical rigors of playing against bigger and tougher point guards.

    Upon his return, Rubio is creative enough, as he owns a unique skills that will allow him avoid consistent contact. Rubio is one of the most exciting players in the NBA today. Let's just hope his body holds up to his game.

Brook Lopez

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    Until last season, Brook Lopez was the picture of health. He had never missed an NBA game in his career, but once he did, the floodgates opened up.

    After breaking his foot, forcing him to miss the first 32 games of last season, Lopez came back for five games only to sprain his foot, which shelved him for the rest of the regular season.

    In the offseason, when asked if he was now vulnerable to an injury after his setback, Lopez stated: (via Colin Stephenson of The Star-Ledger):

    "It's not concerning to me at all. I think everyone's susceptible to injuries. No one is invulnerable. I played three straight years pretty much every game ... unfortunately, it was bound to happen sooner or later. You don't want that to happen. It just happened to be two times in one season.''

    He is right, except for the concerning part, as he is now he is currently out with more foot problems.

    Lopez is a big guy who puts a lot of strain on his feet. That makes Lopez someone who is almost certainly not to be counted on for a full 82-game season any longer.

Blake Griffin

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    Blake Griffin plays with a reckless abandonment. As fun that is to watch, it leaves him very much open to injury.

    After missing his entire first year with a broken kneecap, he battled back to win the Rookie of the Year the following season.

    He has since made two All-Star appearances, leading up to an invitation to play with the eventual gold medal-winning U.S. Olympic Team, which he missed out on after another knee injury. This time it was a meniscus tear in that same left knee.

    Griffin appears to have come back just fine from that and has looked strong this season so far. But with his track record, each elevation could end up costing him to miss multiple games, if not more.

Kyle Lowry

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    Kyle Lowry has the talent to be an All-Star point guard. Unfortunately, injuries just won't let that happen.

    Lowry suffered a fractured wrist in his rookie year that limited him to 10 games. From then on he has been constantly hampered by injuries.

    Prior to this season, Lowry had played in 359 games out of a possible 492 games. And he only started in 139 games of those games. And it's not like he has played heavy minutes through his career either (27.1 for his career). He is really just an injury waiting to happen. 

    There was a reason the Houston Rockets gave up on such a talent for a mere first-round pick. He just can't stay on the floor. He is just as likely to put up a triple-double as he is to sprain something on any given night.

    His start in Toronto doesn't seem all that much better; he has already missed six games due to a sprained foot.

Manu Ginobili

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    Manu is as talented as he is injury prone.

    Seemingly a game-time decision for every game, Ginobili is vital to the success of the San Antonio Spurs.

    The Spurs have learned to survive without him during the regular season. But as we have seen, like when he suffered a broken wrist that caused his No. 1 seed Spurs to lose to the Memphis Grizzlies in the first round of the 2011 NBA Playoffs, San Antonio needs a healthy Manu to win.

    Even if he has to play every other regular-season game from this point on to avoid injury, Ginobili is a must for when it really counts if the Spurs are to capture yet another championship ring before everyone retires.

Danny Granger

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    The Indiana Pacers were expected to contend for as high as a No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference this year.

    It's still early, but after 20 games they own a .500 record and are in eighth place in that Eastern Conference. Who knew Danny Granger was that valuable?

    Currently out to treat left patellar tendonitis, it is just another injury that has hampered Granger throughout his career.

    A talented, albeit not an elite forward in the NBA, Granger has the talent to be mentioned among the best forwards in the game, but his health says otherwise.

Kyrie Irving

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    The concern about Kyrie Irving and his ability to hold up after his injury-plagued freshman year at Duke wasn't too great. It was a broken foot, it happens right?

    Despite playing in only 11 games his freshman year, he was still selected No. 1 overall in the 2011 NBA draft. He won the Rookie of the Year award despite missing 15 games with a concussion and shoulder injury.

    So he did get injured, but was able to produce in spite of the fact.

    Then Irving slammed a padded wall and broke his hand during a summer practice. But not to fret, he would be ready for the NBA season opener. Irving showed no ill effects from the injury and was having a fine sophomore season until he broke his finger, meaning he is out at least a month.

    Is it time to worry that he is fragile now?

    Irving has the talent to become the next Chris Paul, but right now he appears to be a victim of a injury-prone body. Hopefully he can shake the fragile label and have the stellar career that his talent suggests he will have.