The whole NBA community is sulking in the recent wave of injuries to hit championship-contending teams. What’s more appalling is what happened during the regular season to several other players, who missed around 10-15 percent of their team’s scheduled games due to injury or “rest.”
Luckily for fans all the resting and tanking is done for, and players like Dwyane Wade of the Miami Heat are no longer watching from the bench. I don’t blame teams like the Heat resting their All-Stars. Instead I see it as a byproduct of the NBA lockout, which made the season seem very rushed and fatigued.
If the players had another stab at the negotiation process I’m sure they would’ve fought harder to have the season shortened to a less-rushed 50 games (like the previous lockout). The strain that the bodies of starters took during the 2011-12 NBA season proved too much to handle for players like Derrick Rose and Dwight Howard.
Howard, who averaged 38.3 minutes on the court this season, missed two games in early April due to a back problem. After playing two more games, Howard and physicians decided that it was best for him to call it quits for the rest of the season, leaving the Orlando Magic without their All-Star center.
The Magic have a very valuable backup at center, however, in Glen Davis. Although it’s impossible to replace a player like Howard, who saw his streak of three straight Defensive Player of the Year awards come to an end, the Magic have a long-range attack and a very physical backup in Davis to lean on in Howard’s absence.
The Chicago Bulls have a bigger problem in losing the reigning MVP in Rose, who tore his ACL in a non-contact play in the final minute of a game that was already decided. The Bulls are currently knotted up with the Philadelphia 76ers at one game apiece and looked played very poorly in the second half of a 109-92 loss at home. Panic time?
Not quite yet for the Bulls. They’ve played 27 games without their star guard, winning 18 of those games (66.7 percent). They have other star players in Joakim Noah, Carlos Boozer and Luol Deng, veteran help in Richard Hamilton and bench depth in C.J. Watson and Kyle Korver. The Bulls won’t be one-and-done without Rose, but they’ll have their fair share of struggles.
Rose missing the rest of the playoffs also takes a lot out of the drama that is the NBA postseason. Fans loved to see Rose develop into one of the premier players in the NBA last year and are very saddened that one of the most electrifying and athletic players in the game today won’t be around for the next two months (and maybe even more).
A league that sees about five ACL injuries per season witnessed two on April 28 with New York Knicks rookie Iman Shumpert. Shumpert, who also tore his ACL due to a non-contact play, will also miss the rest of the playoffs. This was a much bigger blow to the Knicks as they have already battled a flood of injuries this season already.
And just to add to the frustrations that the Knicks have had to battle this season, power forward Amar’e Stoudemire, out of frustration, punched a fire extinguisher after a 104-94 loss to the Heat on April 30 in the second game of the series.
Although this very untimely move by Stoudemire may just speed up the process of the Knicks being dumped in the playoffs by the Heat for the second year in a row, it had nothing to do with a rushed and compressed season. It’s just an inconvenience that the Knicks could go without right now.
After dissecting all the injury news the correlation I come up with is that players could have stayed healthier, sought more treatment and rested more in a shorter season. Unfortunately all of this is in the past now. Fans are going to have to cope with the fact that the breathtaking Rose or the towering Howard for the rest of the season. Even Ray Allen of the Boston Celtics and Josh Smith of the Atlanta Hawks are listed as day-to-day.
If commissioner David Stern could have restructured the season schedule in favor of the players, I think we would still be seeing stars like Rose and Howard on the court. That’s just my opinion.