Injuries Take A Starring Role In 2012 Playoffs

With horrific injuries spelling an early end to the season for Derrick Rose and Iman Shumpert, let's take a look at the other 14 playoff teams to see how a missing player may mean the difference between a Finals appearance and a first-round exit.

  • Heat: LeBron James and Dwyane Wade enter the playoffs healthier than usual thanks to some much needed rest during the final week of the regular season. The Heat stand to benefit the most from Shumpert and Rose's injuries as a sweep against the Knicks means less of a challenge for Wade on the offensive end and an easier path to winning a title. Look for the Heat to advance to at least the Finals if they can duplicate the success they enjoyed during the first half of the season. 
  • Pacers: The Pacers are injury-free heading into Game 2 against the Magic, who pulled off the upset Saturday evening in Indiana. Utilizing seven-foot-two center Roy Hibbert's size to their fullest advantage will be key for the Pacers as their big man only managed to score eight points but blocked nine shots as he dominated the paint defensively. With Dwight Howard on the shelf for the entirety of the playoffs, the Magic are severely undersized with six-foot-nine Glen Davis taking over at center for Superman. 
  • Celtics: Ray Allen is expected to miss Game 1 in Atlanta against the Hawks as he battles bone spurs in his right ankle. If the Celtics had missed the playoffs, Allen would have undergone surgery immediately to help alleviate the pain. The Celtics will turn to Avery Bradley and his burgeoning reputation as a solid three-point shooter for the majority of the series as Allen's status remains unknown. 
  • Hawks: The center position has been an area of concern for the Hawks with Al Horford and Zaza Pachulia currently sidelined with injuries. Horford, who has been out since January 11 with a torn left pectoral muscle, will miss the entire first round of the playoffs but may be able to return if the team advances. A foot injury to Pachulia that caused him to miss the team's last seven games will force the Hawks to rely on Jason Collins in order to solidify their frontcourt.
  • Magic: The Magic's chances of making a run in the playoffs took a huge hit when Howard called it a season in mid-April as he elected to undergo surgery to repair a herniated disk in his back. Without Howard, the Magic will feature an undersized frontcourt against a much larger Pacers squad. Much uncertainty surrounds the future of the franchise given Howard's impending free agency in 2013 and his desire to replace head coach Stan Van Gundy.
  • Sixers: Aside from rookie center Lavoy Allen spraining his thumb in Game 1, the Sixers feature a healthy roster as they return to action Tuesday night against the Bulls. With Rose out for the remainder of the series, the Sixers will look to capitalize on the perimeter as Lou Williams, Jrue Holiday and Evan Turner should benefit from having to guard John Lucas III rather than the league's reigning MVP.
  • Spurs: After a series of injuries cost Manu Ginobili nearly half the season, the Spurs enter the playoffs with a fresh roster looking to make a title run. Future Hall of Famer Tim Duncan, 36, played a career-low 28.2 MPG this season but is still performing at a high level. The addition of Stephen Jackson at the trade deadline along with the subtraction of Richard Jefferson may be enough to lead the Spurs to their fifth title under Gregg Popovich. 
  • Thunder: James Harden returned to action on Saturday night against the Mavs after missing his last two games with a concussion suffered against the Lakers last Sunday. He appeared to be completely recovered as he scored an efficient 19 points in 35 minutes of the bench. Beyond Harden, the Thunder lost backup point guard Eric Maynor for the season due to a torn ACL in January, but remedied the situation by signing veteran Derek Fisher to a contract in March. 
  • Lakers: A healthy Andrew Bynum and a rested Kobe Bryant may allow for the under-the-radar Lakers to make a run in the wide-open Western Conference playoffs. While not an injury, Los Angeles will be without Metta World Peace for the first six games of the playoffs due to suspension. 
  • Grizzlies: Memphis lost Darrell Arthur for the season after the power forward suffered a torn Achilles tendon in practice back in December. A healthy Zach Randolph has played himself back into shape after missing time earlier this season due to a knee injury. 
  • Clippers: Many critics expected the Clippers to implode after Chauncey Billups went down on February 6 with a torn Achilles tendon. While the Clippers slipped to the fifth seed, they reinvented the image of the franchise and gained respect from around the league thanks to MVP-like play from Chris Paul
  • Nuggets: After spending the majority of the season abroad in China, Wilson Chandler returned to Denver for a brief stint before suffering a season-ending injury to his hip in mid-April. The Nuggets will open against the Lakers without Rudy Fernandez, who had surgery on his lower back in March to end his season. 
  • Mavericks: A healthy Mavs squad will face a difficult journey in defending their title as they open the playoffs against the Thunder. Saturday night saw a missed opportunity by Dallas to steal Game 1 on the road as they lost in Oklahoma City by the score of 99-98. Any chance of exploiting Harden's concussion was nullified with a strong performance by the Sixth Man of the Year candidate.
  • Jazz: Small forward C.J. Miles may miss the start of the playoffs against the Spurs with a strained calf. The team will look for strong production out of star Al Jefferson, who had the opportunity to rest late last week as the center only played limited minutes in the team's regular season finale.

Leave a Reply

dziennika egzotyczny pieścić medycyny centrum medyczne zdrowie Denver