The recent string of season-ending injuries to NBA stars like Kobe Bryant and Russell Westbrook has just made the list even longer, with Rajon Rondo, David Lee, Danny Granger, Danilo Gallinari and Derrick Rose being the biggest names that should have been in the postseason.
Westbrook’s recent injury has nothing to do with an 82 game season. Neither does Kobe Bryant’s. But it isn’t stopping people from attacking the league for being about money-first instead of caring about stars’ health.
It’ll never change, regardless where the blame is at. More games means more money, but also more chances of players getting injured. The different style of basketball played these days is a direct cause for some of these injuries, but that won’t push the NBA to make any changes if it means losing money.
Not that losing NBA stars doesn’t hurt ratings, especially someone like Bryant, which creates a landslide of the Lakers exiting in the first round and hurting the general ratings, while the team Stern hates the most, the San Antonio Spurs, continue to advance.
Derrick Rose hasn’t played a single game all season. He hasn’t played since game 1 of the 2012 NBA playoffs, tearing his knee ligaments at the end of a win for the Chicago Bulls. He’s 100% healthy to come back, but isn’t ready in his head, and won’t be back this season no matter what.
Danny Granger played in only five games this season. The Pacers took their time with bringing him back, but his knee couldn’t hold it together after a brief February comeback and went back to the surgery table, officially ending his season. He averaged 5.4 points in 14.8 minutes a game.
Rajon Rondo wasn’t leading the Boston Celtics to new heights, but did league the NBA in assists after playing in 38 games, averaging 13.7 points and 11.1 assists. Before a regular season game against the Miami Heat on January 27, it was revealed that Rondo had torn his ACL and would miss the remainder of the season.
Danilo Gallinari was a big reason the Denver Nuggets were winning so much and threatened to be a serious dark horse candidate in the Western Cofnerence. But he tore his ACL on April 4, missing the final two weeks of the season after averaging 16.2 points and 5.2 rebounds in 71 games. A big reason of why the Nuggets are struggling against the Warriors is his absence.
David Lee is on the other side of that series, waiting all his career to play in the postseason, and suffering a complete tear of his right hip flexor after the first game in the series. The Warriors have actually done quite well without him, despite missing his 18.5 points and 11.2 rebounds per game.
Russell Westrbook played in the first two wins by the Thunder in their series with the Rockets, injuring his right knee after a collision with Patrick Beverley. He did score 29 points and finished the second game, but it was revealed the next day that Westbrook had suffered a slight tear in his right meniscus and he would miss the rest of the playoffs.
Kobe Bryant is the biggest name off of the rosters in the postseason, with the Lakers now down 0-3, missing both him, Steve Nash and others. Bryant seemed to be like a man possessed in the final days of the season before suffering a torn Achilles tendon against the Warriors, trying to play on it before the pain was too much. He was averaging 27.3 points per game before the injury.