NBA Rumors: Breaking Down Latest Injury Buzz Around the League

Patrick Clarke@@_Pat_ClarkeCorrespondent IDecember 20, 2012

NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 13:  Steve Nash #10 of the Los Angeles Lakers warms up prior to the game against the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden on December 13, 2012 in New York City. 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. The Knicks defeated the Lakers 116-107.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
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The Los Angeles Lakers are struggling to overcome a pair of injuries to two vital pieces. In addition to an early-season coaching change, the Lakers have had to play without Steve Nash for most of the year while Pau Gasol also missed a significant stretch.

Gasol has since returned to L.A.'s lineup, and Nash could be back as soon as this weekend according to ESPN Los Angeles' Ramona Shelburne. But the Lake Show isn't the only NBA squad desperately awaiting a key player's return.

Here we'll break down some of the latest injury buzz around the league. 

Bradley Set for Early 2013 Return?

The Boston Celtics have been struggling as of late, and could really benefit from the return of shooting guard Avery Bradley.

Bradley, who underwent offseason surgery on both of shoulders, has been out since the Eastern Conference semifinals last May. But according to the Boston Herald's Steve Bulpett, Bradley is feeling better and expects to return to Boston's rotation sometime next month:

We’re going to try to get a few weeks of practice under my belt before I think about playing any games. Right now we’re just taking it day-by-day still and just seeing how I feel. But as of now I feel great...A few more weeks, maybe two more weeks.

At 13-12, Boston could certainly use the third-year player in their back court. Bradley excels on the defensive end and can provide solid perimeter scoring off Rajon Rondo's penetration.

Sixers Taking Time With Holiday?

Philadelphia 76ers point guard Jrue Holiday has been dealing with a sprained left foot for the past week and although he's participated in shootarounds recently, he's yet to be cleared to play. 

Head coach Doug Collins offered up this response to Holiday's absence via the Philadelphia Inquirer's John N. Mitchell:

We can't take this injury and make it a residual thing. We can't take an acute injury and make it chronic. We have not had Andrew [Bynum] all year and we are going to miss Jrue some.

Holiday has been a stud for Philly early on this season. Before suffering a foot sprain last week he was averaging 18.4 points and 8.9 assists per game for the 76ers. He's currently leading the team in both categories. 

Clearly, Collins is determined to give Holiday all the time he needs to make his way back to 100 percent. Right or wrong, at least his mind is made up.

When Will Fields Star for Raptors?

Toronto Raptors small forward Landry Fields is back on the active roster but has yet to see any action since returning from November elbow surgery.

And when he does return to the floor, it's unsure how many minutes Field will see. Head coach Dwane Casey had the following to say about getting Fields back in the rotation (via Toronto Sun's Ryan Wolstat):

He’s just got to be ready and be available to kind of work his way back in. I’m not going to force-feed him. That’s one position we’re not down at so we’ve got a house full, that’s the only tough thing so we want to work him back in slowly.

Fields started the first five games of the year for the Raptors but has missed tons of time while recovering his elbow. Toronto needs him back as soon as possible to bring solid shooting and quality defense off the bench. 

The Raptors are paying Fields $6.25 million this season, so the more time he misses the more money that's essentially going to waste for Toronto. On a bright note, the Raptors have won four straight games following a six-game losing streak to open December.

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