The amount of stars the NBA lost last season due to injury could fill an All-Star Game roster. If the names were put on paper, it would indeed be longer than Pippen’s arms… to borrow a quote from Jay-Z.
Fans were lucky to enjoy a great season full of drama, but what ifs loom in the shadows of the minds of fans whose teams were affected by serious injuries.
They say it’s not wise to live in the past so we will focus on the future. Broken but not forgotten, 10 players standout as the most intriguing and compelling injury returns next season.
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10. ANDERSON VAREJAO, Cleveland Cavaliers
He suited up in just 25 games last season but was well on his way to a career year and potential All-Star selection before a quadriceps injury and blood clot sabotaged his run. The intrigue with Varejao isn’t just with his ability to come back from injury but also in determining what his role will be next season. A new coach (sort of) with Mike Brown and a new big man (Andrew Bynum) put Varejao’s starting status in question. While he could potentially play some power forward if Bynum is healthy, it’s just as possible Varejao could be traded midseason. The key will be his own health and if he can show the same value that had him posting 14.1 points and 14.4 rebounds before injury last season.
9. ANDREA BARGNANI, New York Knicks
Many were perplexed when the Knicks brass traded for Bargnani, especially knowing he is coming off his worst season in six years. The former No. 1 pick’s campaign was mercifully cut short by an elbow injury that limited him to just 35 brick-filled appearances. The hope is that the Knicks’ deep roster can relieve any pressure that Bargnani might face and that he can regain his touch from the outside.
Is there is anything worse than a shooter who can’t shoot? That is what Bargnani has become as his field goal percentage has submarined in each of the last three seasons. Interestingly enough, he is supposed to provide some insurance to another Knicker injury risk, Amar’e Stoudemire, but has only played in 66 total games in the last two seasons. The Knicks are gambling big but watch out if it actually works.