The rash of injuries in the NBA this season has the league looking more like the NFL where star players like Odell Beckham Jr. and J.J. Watt missed most the season. Some NBAers, like Phoenix point guard Brandon Knight, were injured before the season even got underway. Knight tore an ACL playing basketball over the summer. He had surgery in August and was ruled out for the entire season. Here’s a look at a number of other injuries that will certainly affect how the rest of the 2017-18 season pans out.
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The NBA’s leading scorer, Harden was hurt in a win over the Los Angeles Lakers over a week ago. The MVP candidate suffered a Grade 2 hamstring strain, though the severity of the diagnosis suggests that there could be a possible tear. Harden, who is averaging 32.3 points and 9.1 assists a game, is to be re-evaluated in mid-January. The Rockets, who were slumping anyway, are now 2-2 without their star.
As if missing the first 27 games of the season wasn’t bad enough, Leonard will now be out for another extended stretch with a shoulder injury. San Antonio fared well without their star and is now third in the Western Conference standings with a record of 28-14. Leonard, who finished third in last year’s MVP voting, has now missed 127 of 574 games, almost one-fourth of his NBA career. He is listed as day-to-day on the Spurs injury report.
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After four years in Atlanta, Millsap was just what Nuggets needed, that was until a wrist injury on Nov. 19 sent him to the bench. Millsap had surgery and is slated for a Feb. 26 return. In the meantime, Denver is 21-19 and holds the seventh spot in the Western Conference standings. Millsap averaged 18.1 points and 7.7 rebounds a game last year in Atlanta.
The Pistons lost their point guard the day after Christmas when Jackson suffered a severely sprained ankle. The diagnosis of a Grade 3 sprain means the Jackson will not be available for at least six weeks and will be re-evaluated at that point. Jackson was averaging 14.6 points and 5.5 assists a game for Detroit, which is seventh in the Eastern Conference standings at 21-18.
Find out about all the current injuries in the NBA
When the Memphis point guard went down with an Achilles injury in mid-November, the Grizzlies season went right with him. Memphis is just 5-21 without Conley and dropped from seventh in the Western Conference to 14th. Currently, the Grizzlies are tied with the Lakers for the worst record in the conference (12-27). This puts the league’s third-longest active playoff streak (seven straight seasons) at risk.
The Jazz has fallen apart without Gobert, an All-NBA Defense selection last year, patrolling the middle. They have suffered nine rather embarrassing losses in their last 11 games. Utah has won just three of its last 16 games. Gobert is averaging 11.6 points and 9.6 rebounds, but his defensive presence is what is missed most. Gobert suffered a minor knee injury and is set to be re-evaluated soon. He is expected to return to the Jazz lineup in mid-January. Utah (16-24) is 10th in the Western Conference.