10 Most Devastating Injuries in NBA History

Jesse DorseyFeatured ColumnistApril 17, 2012

10 Most Devastating Injuries in NBA History

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    Every sport has their own Joe Theismann incident: a time where an injury gets so gnarly that it lives on in infamy through the years to gross out everyone for the next few decades. The NBA is no different.

    The only difference with the NBA is that there is far less in terms of equipment and clothing to get in the way of what you're seeing, so what you get to see is the human body twisted and contorted in ways that never should have happened in the first place.

    Knees twist, ankles roll, blood flows and bones pop, and all that protects you from getting a good view of real pain is the hand covering your eyes.

    The most interesting part about these injuries is that they're impossible to not watch. It always seems like if you happen upon a clip that you have to watch it in full, like some sort of masochistic punishment.

    So here I have the 10 most gruesome-looking injuries that still exist on video somewhere out there in the depths of the Internet. They should be burned down and never watched again, but will somehow always resurface.

Joel Przybilla's Knee

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    This one isn't one that you can see the seriousness of through what the knee does, but only through the reaction of Joel Przybilla.

    Przybilla lands in a way that looks uncomfortable, as his knee seems completely locked when he hits the ground. However, it doesn't look too serious.

    Quickly, however, we realize that it is. Pain shoots through his body as he is sent off his feet and he has nowhere to go but down as he then lands on his right leg as he lands. The impact of that landing ruptured and dislocated Przybilla's patella.

Josh Howard's Knee Wobble

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    Sometimes the worst part about seeing an injury video isn't how unbearably gruesome an injury is; it's just how it reminds you of how bad simple things like your knee going the wrong way can feel.

    It's why everyone in the arena groans when you see a rolled ankle. We can empathize for the most part; everyone has felt that pain before.

    That's why when Josh Howard sprained his knee in Chicago back in 2010 it was easy to feel his pain. Even though most of us have never had a knee sprain bad enough to require surgery, we've all felt a bit of knee wobble that leaves us on the ground for a few minutes.

Steve Nash Pops Nose Back In

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    Sometimes the worst part about an injury isn't watching it happen, it's watching a player after it happens.

    That's just the case with when Steve Nash got popped in the nose by Derek Fisher, leaving him with a nose dangling from his face.

    Instead of stepping over to the sidelines, taking his seat and allowing it to get back into place—like, you know, a normal person would—Nash grabs his nose and pops it back in himself, just as cameras are getting a close-up of him.

Tony Allen Shouldn't Have Dunked

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    Sometimes there are poor decisions, and then there are decisions that haunt someone for the rest of their lives. This is one of the latter.

    Tony Allen decides that he's going to do a bit of showboating here and what happens is really something that he'll remember forever. His momentum takes him a little too far forward and he lands awkwardly on his knee, leading to that knee folding under him.

    What happened as a result was a torn ACL and months of rehab just to get back on the court, and the result was a huge loss of motion and flexibility in that knee.

Allan Ray's Eye

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    There are some injuries that look better (or worse, I suppose) on a great, 1080 HD video. However, some don't give you the full effect unless they're shot in a Zapruder-type fashion. That's the way I feel about this classic Allan Ray injury.

    Sure, this happened while he was still in college, but this one is so gross that I can never pass it up when talking about things like this.

    Ray gets poked in the eye and as a result you can actually see his eye bulging out of the socket as it becomes dislocated. 

    It gives me the shivers every time.

Andrew Bogut's Elbow

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    This is one of the most recent and most painful-looking injuries in recent years, coming as Andrew Bogut's arm gets folded up underneath him awkwardly as he falls to the ground in a heap.

    At about the 0:40 mark, Bogut goes down quickly and without warning, and you can tell from the get-go it was awkward, but you can't really tell until watching the replay just how awkward it was.

    The result was a dislocated elbow, a broken hand and a sprained wrist. It sidelined him for the season two years back.

Jamal Crawford's Neck Breaks His Fall

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    I remember watching this one happen live, and I remember how scary it seemed at the time. It was one of those injuries where everyone just goes silent for a second until they see him actually move again.

    Any time you see a guy go off in a stretcher, you know something bad just happened, but when they land directly on their neck like that, it's even worse.

    Lucky for Jamal, all that happened to him was a sprained neck as he was released from the hospital the next day. It was just one of those cases where it looked so bad that you couldn't help but feel bad for him.

Marquis Scares Us All

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    I can recall watching this injury happen live as well, as it seemed to last for hours, even though just a few minutes had passed.

    Marquis Daniels' head whips around after an awkward collision and he goes straight to the ground. No rolling, no wincing, no grabbing—nothing. Just stillness.

    Minutes pass like molasses running and the commentators get that somber, "something terrible is happening" tone as it seems like everyone is fearing the worst for Daniels. Finally, after what seems like the entire length of Titanic, Daniels makes a few movements, at least showing us that he's alive.

    What resulted was a bruised spine for Daniels and a hell of a scare for everyone in attendance.

The Punch

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    This is the punch that legends are made out of, and whether it was fair or not, it was one that would follow Kermit Washington around for the rest of his life.

    During a bit of a scrum between the Los Angeles Lakers and Houston Rockets, Washington was hanging around the main fight, just protecting his guys when Rudy Tomjanovich comes sprinting in. A split-second decision leads to Washington rearing back and unloading on Tomjanovich's face, leading to his head bouncing off the court.

    Tomjanovich was bleeding like crazy, and once he was taken to the hospital, the only term that I can use to describe what happened to him without four years at Johns Hopkins is that Kermit broke Rudy's face.

    There have rarely been punches as devastating as this in all history of sports.

Shaun Livingston's Knee

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    Unfortunately, something has gotten rid of every video of Shaun Livingston on a proper video player on the Internet, but here's a link to it if you haven't had your stomach shiver in too long. It'll do that to you, no problem.

    Livingston's knee bends completely in the opposite direction that knees should, and to make it all worse, the damn thing folds up underneath him. And just like that, a promising career is taken down in its early stages.

    The injury took Livingston and his afro out back in 2007 and he wouldn't play again until late in the 2009 season, as he was taken on by Miami and Oklahoma City on separate occasions.

    He would play his first near-full season in 2011 with the Charlotte Bobcats, a time when even he was happy to wear that uniform.


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