The Most Damaging Injury Each NBA Team Is Currently Dealing With
The injury bug has certainly created its share of problems in the NBA this season.
Some teams have less severe injury issues than others, but very few have been entirely without bumps and bruises up until this point of the season.
At the halfway mark of the 2012-13 campaign, here is a roundup of the worst injury—assuming that there is one—on each team.
Only 10 teams are currently playing without any major injuries. These are the lucky exceptions.
Boston Celtics: Chris Wilcox
The Celtics have been without backup big man Chris Wilcox for almost three weeks after he sprained his thumb in December.
It’s not a huge loss for the team considering that he was only playing 13.3 minutes per game before his injury, but he is the biggest injury the C's have been saddled with.
Wilcox returned to practice on Sunday, so Boston won’t be without him for much longer.
Brooklyn Nets: Gerald Wallace
The Brooklyn Nets have multiple banged up players on their roster, but the good news is that Gerald Wallace might be the only one that has to miss playing time going forward.
After spraining his ankle in early January, frontcourt teammate Humphries returned for the Nets in Sunday's 97-86 win over the Indiana Pacers, scoring 10 points in 17 minutes of floor time.
Unfortunately, Wallace had to sit out of that contest with bruised ribs, and it is currently unknown when he will be back in action.
Charlotte Bobcats: Byron Mullens
The only injured player for the Charlotte Bobcats is their starting center, Byron Mullens. After severely spraining his ankle in December, he still hasn’t been able to return.
Mullens has been a big loss for the Bobcats. The third-year center was in the middle of a breakout season, putting up career numbers of 11.6 points per game and 7.8 rebounds per game before his injury.
Mullens was slated to return soon, but there isn’t a real timetable for him yet. He’s been seen without a walking boot recently, though, so it’s very likely that we’ll see him returning before the month is up.
Chicago Bulls: Derrick Rose
When Derrick Rose went down with a torn ACL in the playoffs last season, it was obvious who the injury spotlight would be on coming into the new campaign.
Recently, the Chicago Bulls and their fanbase have been receiving promising updates on the status of Rose and his ACL. It was even reported that he has been dunking in practice.
At any rate, consensus says that he’ll be returning in mid-February—just before the All-Star break.
Cleveland Cavaliers: Anderson Varejao
The Cavaliers were dealt a massive blow when Anderson Varejao was forced to undergo surgery after suffering a right knee contusion in December.
This has been a breakout season for Varejao, who was averaging numbers of 14.1 points and 14.4 rebounds per game. He’s established himself as one of the best centers in the East this season and will be sorely missed.
The timetable for Varejao has him returning in six to eight weeks. It’s too bad for Varejao, who was playing at an All-Star level before the injury.
Golden State Warriors: Andrew Bogut
The Golden State Warriors have been without starting center Andrew Bogut, who has been suffering with a troublesome ankle for most of the regular season.
After hurting it four games into the year, Bogut hasn’t seen the court since.
The big Aussie has made it clear that he wishes to return this season, which would put his return sometime in late January.
That would be a big boost for the Warriors, who are missing his consistent play on both sides of the ball, particularly on defense.
Indiana Pacers: Danny Granger
He scored over 18 points per game last season, but the Pacers have remained a major player in the Eastern Conference without him.
Granger is expected to return in late January, which should make things interesting for the Pacers, who suddenly have two high-caliber small forwards on roster with Paul George manning the 3.
In all likelihood, George will return to shooting guard when Granger makes his way back on the floor.
Los Angeles Clippers: Chauncey Billups
Chauncey Billups and Grant Hill have played a combined four ga es this season.
It’s difficult to gauge whether or not their absence has actually been a blow to the Clippers, because they’ve still managed to play at an extremely high level.
Regardless, Billups is the bigger impact player between the two veterans. He averaged 15 points and four assists last season and adds a huge offensive presence for the Clippers.
Billups has begun to make some progress, but he is still facing a long road to recovery.
Los Angeles Lakers: Jordan Hill
You know the Lakers have a problem in the paint when Dwight Howard, Pau Gasol and Jordan Hill are all missing in action. Thankfully for Los Angeles, Howard recently made his return, and Gasol shouldn't be far behind despite suffering a serious concussion.
With that in mind, Hill's injury is clearly the most damaging to the Lakers.
Hill had been been averaging 6.7 points and 5.7 rebounds in each contest, but his defense and hustle will be missed most of all.
Seeing as the Lakers already didn’t have much of a bench to speak of, Hill's season-ending injury has to hurt.
Memphis Grizzlies: Quincy Pondexter
Quincy Pondexter is the only serious injury the Memphis Grizzlies have had to stomach thus far. The perimeter maestro was leading the team in field-goal percentage and had been scoring 6.7 points per game before he sprained his MCL in December.
While he should be back late this month, there have been no recent developments on his progress.
Minnesota Timberwolves: Kevin Love
Where to start with the Minnesota Timberwolves? They lost Love in the preseason with a broken hand and have yet to see Brandon Roy and Chase Budinger back playing after they both went down within the first two weeks of the regular season.
When Ricky Rubio came back from his torn ACL in December, fans were looking forward to finally being able to watch the team settle down and jell. Instead, Love re-fractured his hand, ending up with an expected recovery time of eight to 10 weeks.
Love is easily the biggest injury for the team—maybe the entire league. He was in a bit of a slump before his second injury, but he was still averaging 18 points and 14 rebounds per game.
It's a huge loss for the Wolves, but there is a chance that he can come back in time to help them make a playoff run.
New York Knicks: Raymond Felton
Raymond Felton came to the Knicks and immediately made an impact. In the 28 games that he was able to play before fracturing his finger, he was averaging 15.8 points and 6.3 assists per game.
He fractured his right pinkie in late December and was initially expected to have surgery on it—the expected recovery time for that would have been around four to six weeks. He opted out of the procedure, though, and now expects to return sometime in late January.
When he returns, the Knicks are going to get a big offensive boost back.
Orlando Magic: Glen Davis
After Dwight Howard left for the greener pastures of Los Angeles (or so he thought), Glen “Big Baby” Davis did a fantastic job of taking over for him. Before his injury, he was averaging 16 points and almost eight rebounds per game.
Then he sprained his shoulder in December. Since then, the Magic have gone 1-10.
That single stat speaks for itself; Davis is a huge part of the Magic winning games. He’s expected to return in late January, which should hopefully put the Magic back on track.
Philadelphia 76ers: Andrew Bynum
Where on earth is Andrew Bynum? Especially since the 76ers essentially got rid of Andre Iguodala in order to bring Bynum to Philadelphia, it is now officially time to declare that Bynum has been the disappointment of the season—and not just for Sixers fans.
After he re-injured his knee while bowling, Bynum has completely dropped off the radar. He went for almost a month without giving fans a status update. There is no known timetable for his return, but he has mentioned that his doctors told him that his problem would “resolve itself.”
Last season, there was debate as to whether Bynum or Dwight Howard was the better center. This year, the biggest story on Bynum has been about his hair.
If Bynum returns at full strength this season, the 76ers have a chance to be a great team. If not, then hopefully Bynum can figure out his knee issues before next season.
Phoenix Suns: Channing Frye
The Phoenix Suns are without Channing Frye for the entire 2012-13 season.
At the beginning of the year, it was reported that he would just miss the first few months with an enlarged heart. Unfortunately, a re-evaluation in December showed that he wouldn't be coming back this season.
Frye averaged 10.5 points and 5.9 rebounds per game last season, making him a valuable asset for the Suns. Hopefully he can return healthy next season. He’s a big part of that team and is very missed.
Portland Trail Blazers: Meyers Leonard
Luckily for the Portland Trail Blazers, their injuries haven’t been extremely detrimental to the team. LaMarcus Aldridge sprained his ankle last week, but played for the Trail Blazers on Sunday against the Thunder.
Second-year guard Elliot Williams is out for the season with a ruptured Achilles, but he put up just 3.7 points in 6.2 minutes per game in his rookie season.
The biggest injury for the Trail Blazers has been their rookie center, Meyers Leonard. After exiting a game in late December with a severe ankle sprain, Leonard is not expected to return for a few more weeks.
He wasn’t starting, but he was putting up almost five points and four rebounds in limited minutes off the bench.
San Antonio Spurs: Manu Ginobili
For an aging roster, the San Antonio Spurs have done a fantastic job of staying healthy this season. Gregg Popovich is great at knowing when to rest his stars, even if it has created some controversy.
Regardless, Manu Ginobili’s nagging hamstring injury has once again flared up, causing the highly-decorated sixth man to miss at least the next two weeks. He announced the news on Twitter on Monday.
Before the injury, Ginobili was providing almost 13 points per night coming off the bench. His offensive consistency is going to be missed, but you can bet that San Antonio is going to regain some swag when Ginobili gets back on the court.
Toronto Raptors: Jonas Valanciunas
The most damaging injury for the Raptors has been to their rookie center, Jonas Valanciunas. Playing just 22 minutes a game, he’s been averaging almost eight points and five rebounds. His defense is superb, and his rebounding is substantially better than Andrea Bargnani’s, who recently returned after an injury of his own.
Unfortunately, he fractured his metacarpal in his ring finger of his right hand. He’s expected to be back sometime in mid-January, which bodes well with fans.
However, based on reputation alone, Andrea Bargnani could have been the most damaging injury for the Toronto Raptors. This season, though, he has been inefficient, shooting just 39 percent from the field. Furthermore, his rebounding is absolutely terrible.
Worse yet, the Raptors went 10-5 when Bargnani was injured.
Even though Bargnani is back, it’s highly doubtful that he will stay with the Raptors long-term. Valanciunas has been playing at a high level and will more than likely earn the starting position when he returns.
Utah Jazz: Mo Williams
The Utah Jazz have been without Mo Williams since December, when he tore a ligament in his thumb.
He was having a fantastic year before his injury, putting up 12.9 points and almost seven assists per game.
The initial timetable for Williams' return was six weeks, but he recently announced that his thumb would likely take longer to heal. This puts a big strain on the Jazz, who are already extremely weak at the point guard position.
When Williams does return—whether it takes six weeks or not—you can bet that the Jazz are going to improve with him back on the court.
Washington Wizards: Jordan Crawford
The Washington Wizards are absolutely psyched that John Wall is back on the hardwood. After missing the first three months of the season with a stress injury, Wall came back and scored 14 points in limited minutes.
Now that Wall has returned, the attention can be shifted to Jordan Crawford, who has missed the last three games with an ankle sprain.
Before his injury, the 24-year old Crawford was scoring 15.6 points per match. He isn’t known for being a passer, but he raised his assists per game from 1.2 last season to 4.6 this season.
His return status is day-to-day, so we’ll see how that turns out. The sooner he can get back, the better. The Wizards would love to see Crawford and Wall back out on the court together.
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