While we are less than a week into the 2012-2013 NBA Season, it already looks like this year is poised to be long and competitive across many different areas. From the very start we see how important staying healthy has become as multiple teams struggle with injuries carried over from last year and some that are fresh out the gate for this season.
Derrick Rose is probably the most acclaimed of any individual who is currently sitting on the bench. The 2011 MVP suffered an ACL injury to his left knee during the first game of the 2011-2012 playoffs and had to be helped off the court. When the announcement was made about the severity of the injury, not only was the Bulls championship hopes lost at that point; the team knew that their leader stood the chance to be gone for most of this season as well. Losing such an important player has caused many predictions that place the Bulls towards the bottom of the playoff seeding and that is just yet another example of how quickly expectations can change with the removal of one individual. Rose’s comeback is being chronicled by an ADIDAS ad campaign, but the All-Star point guard will have to take his time to avoid becoming like another injured player who was also plagued by knee injuries.
Even though the New York Knicks started their season in impressive fashion by dominating the defending champion Miami Heat, they should still be concerned about injuries to two of their key players. Both Iman Shumpert and Amar’e Stoudemire are dealing with left knee injuries that are expected to keep them off the court for an extended period of time. While the Knicks are sure to try to ride the momentum of such a big win to kick off the year; it is very apparent that the team will have to find a way to get early success without a superstar and a role player that proved to be so valuable last year.
The Western Conference isn’t free of injury woes either as the Los Angeles Lakers have been struck quickly this season. Expected to be one of the power houses of the Western Conference this season, the Lakers haven’t looked quite the part as they have quickly fallen to 0-3. What makes the situation more serious is that key players that were meant to power them towards a championship are struggling to stay on the court. Kobe Bryant, who tends to play through injuries, is currently dealing with a bruised foot which he stated “felt like it’s about to fall off,” after their defeat at the hands of the Los Angeles Clippers. Steve Nash was forced out of the game because of a bruised left leg and Steve Blake struggled as his replacement. You also can’t forget about Dwight Howard, who missed much of the preseason due to back surgery. Even though it is still very early, few would have expected the Lakers to be winless at this point in the season.
As with any professional sport, injuries play a major part in how teams perform throughout the year. As the NBA season drags on players, fans and experts alike will have to keep a close eye on those who find themselves sitting on the bench, unable to play night in and night out.