NBA Rumors: Injuries to Worry About on Opening Day

John FrielAnalyst IDecember 23, 2011

NBA Rumors: Injuries to Worry About on Opening Day

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    With Christmas day fast approaching and training camps getting in their final moves and deals to complete rosters, we have to take a look at just which players might possibly miss the start of the 2011-12 campaign.

    A number of star players went a little too hard in the preseason and they now find themselves possibly suffering on the sideline on opening day because of it. Due to the lockout cutting into preseason and training camp time, injuries have been piling because of the lack of conditioning that players suffered from because of the lockout.

    This year's preseason also served to allow the regular rotation players to get their shots in, as opposed to the traditional method of playing the starters for a quarter or two and then playing the bench and the players trying to make a roster spot. With the lockout limiting the preseason to only two games, teams are having their elite players participating for up to 30 minutes.

    Most teams walked away from the preseason without any devastating injuries, but there are a few key players that will be ailing when the regular season starts.

    Here's five players who are listed as either questionable or probable for their season opener.

Paul Pierce

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    Listed as probable for the start of the season by cbssports.com, Boston Celtics small forward Paul Pierce is currently dealing with a heel bruise that has nagged him throughout the offseason.

    As of only a few hours ago, Pierce's status is still in question.

    Coach Doc Rivers claims that the final decision is up to trainer Ed Lacerte. He states, "If Eddie says he can play, he'll play. Paul knows what we do for the most part, and if Eddie gives him clearance it's because he thinks he can play."

    Pierce took part in shooting drills yesterday without his status changing for the team's season opener against the New York Knicks.

Kobe Bryant

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    An injury that may be a lot more devastating than we think, Kobe Bryant is listed as probable for the season opener despite tearing a ligament in his right wrist in the Los Angeles Lakers first preseason meeting with the Los Angeles Clippers.

    The Lakers had him lasted as day-to-day, but it sounds like this injury could be more serious from the sound of it. Bryant is always the team leader and the Lakers staff may not want to divulge to the general public that he's hurt. Opponents will then be looking to use that to their advantage by going after his wrist.

    Bryant made a comment about the wrist by saying, "It's not really going to heal. The ligament's gone. There's nothing I can do about it, but I've dealt with so many hand injuries I should be all right."

    Sounds a lot more serious than day-to-day. Orthoinfo.org states about severe sprains that, "...the ligament can be expected to heal in six to eight weeks, rehabilitation with full recovery of motion and strength can take several months."

    There's no confirmation on the severity of the injury, but the fact that it's gone probably isn't a good thing.

Stephen Curry

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    Spraining his right ankle a total of three times last season, Golden State Warriors point guard Stephen Curry decided to continue the trend by spraining the same ankle in a preseason matchup with the Sacramento Kings.

    Even though MRI's revealed Curry has no ligament decision and the repairs made last season are still in working order, he's still listed as day-to-day and he claims that it would be a "Christmas miracle" if he can play against the Los Angeles Clippers on the final game of Christmas.

    Curry had surgery on the same ankle in May to repair two ligament tears.

    With such little reliable depth at the point behind Curry, losing the third-year guard would be a hurtful blow as the team will either have to start Charles Jenkins or Ishmael Smith, or possibly move Monta Ellis over to the 1.

Marcin Gortat

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    We thought Kobe Bryant was committed to playing with injuries, but Phoenix Suns center Marcin Gortat is making him look really weak at this point.

    When speaking of his broken right thumb and the prospect of losing his starting job, Gortat commented, "I ain't going to back off from anything. You've got to cut my arm off or my head off to make sure I'm not going to play. As long as I can walk, as long as I can see everything, I'm going to be playing. I've been waiting for a chance to play as a starter for so many years and I don't want to give up like that."

    On whether he'll be ready for opening day, Gortat said, "You'll be sure I'm going to be playing on opening night."

    He also went on to say about the extent of the injury, "I've got to play for the next four weeks probably with a tape and a little thing on my finger, which is obviously uncomfortable."

    The Suns start their season on December 26th with a game against the new-look New Orleans Hornets.

Jason Terry

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    Already spreading through Delonte West, Brian Cardinal and Brandan Wright, some sort of illness has been going around the Dallas Mavericks locker room and it most recently gave Jason Terry a scare.

    "I was literally driving down the tollway and I felt something I had never felt before. It's hard to explain what it was, but it was life-fearing; just not being in control for a split second. My body, it seemed like it wanted to just shut down," said Terry on just how badly the illness has impaired him.

    Terry goes on to claim that, "At one point I thought I had to pull the car over and just stop."

    However, with a few days passing, Terry now claims that he's got a "perfect bill of health" and that he will be ready for the start of the season, which is a December 25th NBA Finals rematch against the Miami Heat.