The NBA has been home to an unprecedented number of star-studded injuries this season. Everyone from the injury-prone Amar'e Stoudemire and Eric Gordon to the usually durable Dirk Nowitzki has had to ride the pine for an extended period of time.
The good news?
Some of them are back. Not all of them just yet, but some.
But while the complexity of a road to recovery is continuously echoed as they don street clothes, the magnitude of such a journey is not fully understood until they are back in the rotation.
At that moment, the instant they remove their warm-ups, set foot on the court and watch the game pass their still healing bodies by, is when everyone involved finally understands what these stars are up against.
That said, benchmarks are made to be broken and expectations exist only to be exceeded. Have any of the Association's recently returned stars proved to be the exception?
Most of us are still pining for the day Derrick Rose suits up, while optimists anxiously anticipate an Andrew Bynum return. But as we await on those comebacks and others, there's no shortage of restoration projects for us to take in.
Note: All stats in this article accurate as of January 1, 2013