Injuries have been devastating to teams
by Jeff Zillgitt, USA TODAY Sports
No time is a good time for an injury to an important player.
But it is more devastating when that injury comes late in the season or in the playoffs, and in recent seasons, the NBA has had its share of crushing injuries, starting with the most recent: Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant’s likely torn Achilles tendon sustained in a 118-116 victory over the Golden State Warriors Friday.
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The timing is horrible for the Lakers, who are locked in a battle with the Utah Jazz for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference. Bryant will miss the rest of the season, including the playoffs if the Lakers make it. Headed into Saturday’s games, the Lakers had a one game lead over the Jazz.
Los Angeles already took a late-season hit when it was believed forward Metta World Peace would miss the remainder of the regular season and the first round of the playoffs when he sustained a torn meniscus in his left knee on March 25. He was supposed to miss at least six weeks but returned 12 days after surgery on March 28.
Bryant won’t be as fortunate as World Peace.
The Denver Nuggets lost Danilo Gallinari for the rest of the season when he tore his anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee on April 4, damaging Denver’s postseason prospects. Gallinari was second on the team in scoring (16.2 points per game), tied for third in rebounding (5.2 per game), first in three-pointers made (135) and second in three-point shooting percentage (37.3%).
On March 28, the Indiana Pacers announced forward Danny Granger needed for surgery on his left knee and he was out for the season, playoffs included.
Late season-ending injuries have had a major impact on teams in recent seasons: