Home » Blog » Injury Plague Mars Festive Period

Injury Plague Mars Festive Period

Russell Westbrook will be sidelined until at least the All-Star break.

Russell Westbrook will be sidelined until at least the All-Star break.

‘Tis the season to be jolly, unless you’re an NBA coach or general manager.

In a campaign that has already seen perennial All-Star players Kobe Bryant, Derrick Rose and Rajon Rondo rooted to the trainer’s table, the festive period has dealt further stinging blows to teams across the league.

The Oklahoma City Thunder will be without Russell Westbrook until after the All-Star break after the point guard underwent knee surgery on Friday.

A pre-Christmas MRI revealed swelling on Westbrook’s right knee, the same knee in which he tore his lateral meniscus at the beginning of last season’s playoffs. Despite the swelling, the six-year player out of the University of California played against the New York Knicks on Christmas Day, notching a triple-double before sitting out the fourth quarter of a blowout win.

Concerned still about the swelling, the Oklahoma City medical staff booked Westbrook in for arthroscopic surgery – the third procedure on his knee in nine months – on Friday, leaving the Thunder to await his return.

For the Oklahoma City front office, its on-court personnel, and fans, Westbrook’s absence is a major blow. The Thunder was favored to win the Western Conference before their All-Star guard went down. That may change when Vegas sportsbooks release their next set of NBA futures. It certainly did when Westbrook was lost at the start of the playoffs a season ago.

Atlanta forward Al Horford may not return this season.

Atlanta forward Al Horford may not return this season.

Like Oklahoma City, the Atlanta Hawks will be forced to sweat things out after it was revealed that forward Al Horford has a torn pectoral muscle.

Horford, who leads the Hawks in points and rebounds per game, underwent an MRI on Friday, revealing the tear to his right pectoral. The two-time All-Star selection previous tore his left pectoral in 2012, an injury that took four months of recovery time.

The Hawks organization currently has Horford’s recovery time listed as indefinite. If he is able to recover in a similar time frame to 2012, he might return in time for a playoff run, although early predictions suggest he may be done for the year.

The Hawks, currently third in the Eastern Conference standings, will need to lean on Paul Millsap and Jeff Teague if they’re to continue pushing for a top four finish in the Eastern Conference. Millsap led the team with 33 points in an overtime win against the Charlotte Bobcats on Saturday while Teague led the side with 22 points in a loss to the Orlando Magic on Sunday.

Brooklyn center Brook Lopez is out for the season.

Brooklyn center Brook Lopez is out for the season.

While the Hawks still have a glimmer of hope that Horford will return in April, the Brooklyn Nets aren’t quite so lucky.

The Nets saw center Brook Lopez injured in a December 20 game against the Philadelphia 76ers. Subsequent medical checks revealed that the seven-footer had fractured a metatarsal in his right foot. Surgery has been scheduled for January 4.

Lopez leads the Nets with 20.7 points and 1.8 blocks per game. His six rebounds per game are second only to Kevin Garnett (7.0 rpg). Now, without the center, the Nets will be forced to rely on an offense that, outside of Lopez, has been unreliable at best. Garnett is expected to anchor the team with help from Andray Blatche and Mirza Televonik, but if the Nets are to make a push for the playoffs – as bookmakers up until now have expected – they may need to get busy ahead of the trade deadline.

No strangers to injuries this season, the Los Angeles Lakers were dealt yet another injury scare in Sunday’s home game against Sixers as emerging guard Xavier Henry left the game with a knee injury.

Henry has shone in the absence of the likes of Steve Nash, Steve Blake and Bryant, and has proven to be a reliable fixture on the court. But just days after Jordan Farmar returned from injury, the Lakers may be juggling their backcourt once more.

The optimistic view is that Henry may just have suffered a strain but with a constant stream of players heading for trainer Gary Vitti’s table, Mitch Kupchak, Mike D’Antoni and Co. may well be expecting the worst.


10 Significant NBA Injuries

Westbrook, Horford and Lopez will be joining some esteemed company on the injury list this season. Here are 10 high-impact injuries that have already taken their toll on teams around the league.

Kobe Bryant and Derrick Rose are among those players suffering this season.

Kobe Bryant and Derrick Rose are among those players suffering this season.

1. Derrick Rose

Having missed all of last season, the Chicago Bulls guard tore his right knee meniscus on November 22, just 10 games into the 2013-14 campaign. A return before or during the playoffs looks unlikely.

2. Kobe Bryant

Like Rose, Bryant made his return from a significant injury only to succumb to another ailment. On December 17, six games into his return, Bryant suffered a lateral tibial plateau fracture in his left knee. Estimations are that he could return four to six weeks after the injury but can he return to his elite status?

3. Marc Gasol

Granted, the Memphis Grizzlies weren’t playing outstanding ball when Gasol was downed by an MCL injury but without last year’s Defensive Player of the Year and Grizzlies MVP, the team has stumbled to a 6-11 record. With Gasol, the Grizzlies are lacking. Without Gasol, the team looks hamstrung.

4. Steve Nash

Going on last season’s performance, Nash looks beyond his prime but the Lakers would no doubt have benefited from his presence in a year in which guards have been dropping like flies in La La Land. But with just six games on the docket and his return shrouded in mystery, 2013 has most definitely been Nash’s year.

5. Tyson Chandler

The Knicks can rival the Lakers when it comes to injuries this season but Chandler’s looks to have been the worst of all. The Knicks were 6-14 without their big man, whose worth was on show every night he didn’t play. With Carmelo Anthony missing games of late, Chandler’s return hasn’t led to success, but you get the feeling the Knicks at least have a chance when he’s anchoring the defense.

6. Rajon Rondo

Out since January 2013, Rondo has watched his Boston Celtics side overachieve so far in this rebuilding year. His return, which could come as early as January, could add the impetus for a playoff run.

7. Nerlens Noel

The Sixers are no doubt keen to find out what Noel brings to the table but a steady rehab schedule means it’s unlikely they’ll find out until next season. By then the seven-footer could be teaming up with Andrew Wiggins.

8. J.J. Redick

The Los Angeles Clippers made a shrewd move in luring Reddick away from the miserable Milwaukee Bucks, both for the team and the player. A broken hand and an injured elbow has put the momentum of the move on hold, but come mid-January, the Clippers could see a welcome offensive punch return.

9. Dwyane Wade

Casual NBA viewers might not have realized Wade has missed time this year, but the second member of the Big Three has missed eight games for the Heat with knee issues. The Heat is just 4-4 in those games. Were it not for a dire Eastern Conference this season, the Heat might be facing a bigger problem if Wade’s knee doesn’t respond to treatment.

10. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist

You could argue that losing Al Jefferson – the team’s second-leading score – is a bigger problem for the Bobcats but Kidd-Gilchrist’s broken hand hurts the team in the longer term. What Michael Jordan and Co. needed was for MKG and Kemba Walker – the future of the team – to bond and grow. What they got was another delay. Still, the Bobcats continue to show signs of improvement.

Danny Granger’s absence from the Indiana Pacers could easily have made this list but the Pacers, thanks in part to the emergence of Lance Stephenson, rode the Granger-less waters spectacularly.  Now, with the 30-year-old back in the fold, the Pacers look even more dangerous.

For a full list of today’s NBA odds, click here.

For updated NBA futures odds, click here.

For updated NBA team prop bets, click here.

For updated NBA player prop bets, click here.

  • 100%