Athletes Hoping for Huge Comebacks

Nick DimengoFeatured ColumnistAugust 13, 2014

Athletes Hoping for Huge Comebacks

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    Darron Cummings/Associated Press

    No one likes them, but we all have bad days.

    And while they can happen for various reasons, one thing that sucks even more is when a day turns into even more than just 24 hours.

    Even though most athletes make millions of dollars and play a sport for a living, they, believe it or not, also have days—and sometimes months—that aren’t great.

    Some guys are trying for another of many comebacks. We left the two biggest names out and stayed with a mix of first time major comebacks and performance do overs. 

    But because nothing lasts forever, here are a few athletes who are really hoping for huge comebacks.

Kobe Bryant

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    Ross D. Franklin/Associated Press

    Forget about the torn Achilles late in the 2012-13 season or the bum knee that kept him out of the lineup for so long this past year.

    While those are awful to see happen to anyone—especially a future Hall of Famer and one of the top players to ever lace up—Kobe has had a terrible year for one simple reason: He hasn’t seen any improvements to the Lakers lineup.

    At this stage of his career, Kobe is all about winning titles. Missing out on LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony while seeing Pau Gasol leave doesn’t really help him do that.

    Probability of Bouncing Back: 75 percent

Justin Verlander

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    Kathy Willens/Associated Press

    One of the most dominant and feared pitchers in baseball as recently as two years ago, Detroit Tigers righty Justin Verlander hasn't been able to get things going ever since inking a massive deal before last season.

    Sure, dating supermodel Kate Upton helps ease the pain of his mediocre pitching skills, but that can only do so much for a guy—though it would clear my mind really fast.

    Going just 23-23 with a 4.11 ERA since the beginning of 2013, Verlander isn't himself for some reason and now finds himself battling an injury too.

    Probability of Bouncing Back: 45 percent

Philadelphia 76ers

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    Matt Slocum/Associated Press

    Whenever a team loses 26 games in a row, you know they're bad.

    But when that team happens to be a professional basketball team, it's a little bit more embarrassing since these guys are supposed to be some of the best players on the planet.

    The 2013-14 Philadelphia 76ers definitely weren't that, though, as the team struggled to a paltry 19-63 record, including an NBA record-tying 26-game losing streak—and then didn't even end up with the No. 1 pick in this year's draft.

    Probability of Bouncing Back: 10 percent

Roger Federer

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    Pavel Golovkin/Associated Press

    Roger Federer is an absolute legend in tennis, but sadly it's an uphill battle for him to be mentioned as one of the current best players in the world.

    Yes, Fed has two wins on tour this year and even finished as runner-up at Wimbledon just last month.

    But for a guy so accustomed to winning Grand Slam after Grand Slam, the Swiss hasn't done that lately, with his age and a new breed of players overtaking him—even if he is still the No. 3-ranked player in the world.

    Probability of Bouncing Back: 65 percent

Ryan Raburn

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    Owning the blooper of the major league season, Ryan Raburn of the Cleveland Indians would love to have this entire play back.

    Coming oh so close to making a great play just on the left field line, Raburn's inability to make the catch was just the beginning, as he throws the ball into the ground, allowing it to roll into left field while the runner rounds the bases for a home run.

    He may be a major leaguer, but Raburn's play made some think of a little league play.

    Probability of Bouncing Back: 65 percent

Blaine Gabbert

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    Nick Wass/Associated Press

    A former top-10 pick from the 2011 NFL draft, San Francisco 49ers backup quarterback Blaine Gabbert has had a difficult time finding the form that made him such a high selection.

    And if his recent preseason game is any indication, Gabbert may have a hard time finding another job on a football team.

    Completing just three of 11 passes for 20 yards and an interception, the signal-caller looked like he would have struggled against a Pop Warner defense, let alone an NFL one.

    Of course, this comes after his former team, the Jaguars, gave up and shipped him out of town.

    Probability of Bouncing Back: 30 percent

Caroline Wozniacki

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    Ben Curtis/Associated Press

    The former No. 1 overall player in the world, tennis player Caroline Wozniacki has seen better days on and off the tennis court.

    In addition to falling from the top 10 in the world rankings over the past year, Wozniacki has also had distractions in her personal life that probably affected her professional one—like her former fiance, Rory McIlroy, calling off their engagement.

    That's hard on anyone, but for McIlroy to then enjoy great success this year and actually attribute his two major titles to breaking things off with Caroline is just harsh for her to hear.

    Probability of Bouncing Back: 70 percent

Andrew Wiggins

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    NBA Photos/Getty Images

    So much for being the next LeBron James, huh?

    After earning ridiculous praise prior to his freshman year at Kansas last season, recent No. 1 overall pick Andrew Wiggins hasn't really seen great things since.

    First, he failed to meet expectations and do anything in the NCAA tournament, and now, after being chosen by the Cleveland Cavaliers a couple months ago, he has become the odd man out on a team that has championship aspirations with the return of the best basketball player in the world.

    Bottom line is Wiggins probably didn't think his first pro season would be so tough—and it hasn't even started yet.

    Probability of Bouncing Back: 85 percent

Tiger Woods

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    Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

    The dude might just be one of the best golfers to ever swing a club, but Tiger Woods hasn’t shown that prowess lately.

    Whether it’s battling the field during a tournament, pulling out of an event because of injury or seeing his nearly 15-year reign at the top come to an abrupt end thanks to Rory McIlroy’s emergence, Tiger Woods has failed to make anything significant happen on the golf course in 2014.

    10 years ago, Tiger was the best.

    These days, though? Not so much.

    Probability of Bouncing Back: 20 percent

Neymar

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    Leo Correa/Associated Press

    Everything was right there in front of Brazilian forward Neymar.

    He was enjoying a great World Cup on his home country's turf, and the anticipation was building that the Selecao would be crowned the winners.

    That was, of course, until he sustained a nasty back injury.

    It's not so much that Neymar hasn't had a good 2014, but because he's now forced to overcome an injury that left him being stretchered off prior to Brazil's humiliation on its own turf, he has to be one of those athletes wondering, "What if?"

    Probability of Bouncing Back: 90 percent

Alex Rodriguez

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    Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

    Does anyone actually remember this guy?

    Oh yeah, he used to be the most feared hitter in the majors, but now Alex Rodriguez is just the butt of jokes thanks to his involvement with performance enhancing drugs.

    Suspended for the 2014 season due to his steroid bust, A-Rod has to be having a terrible year just sitting around and counting all of the millions that he never deserved in the first place.

    Probability of Bouncing Back: 12 percent

Paul George

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    John Locher/Associated Press

    Anytime a player gets injured, one has to feel for them.

    But when a guy goes down the way Paul George did during a USA Basketball scrimmage a few weeks ago, it is devastating.

    A seemingly good guy with unlimited potential, George now has to work his way back from a gruesome injury that has no real timetable or accelerated process to do so.

    Add in his Indiana Pacers losing in the Eastern Conference Finals the past two years to the Miami Heat and then failing to re-sign Lance Stephenson this offseason, and George has more pain than just his leg right now.

    But hey, at least PG rewarded himself with a nice car.

    Probability of Bouncing Back: 90 percent