Player Injuries Take A Spin as More Stars Miss Games


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Zev Cohen, Staff Reporter

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the NBA 2019-2020 season was cut short. On March 11, Utah Jazz player Rudy Gobert tested positive for the virus, causing the league to go into a 30-day lockdown. It was planned to be restarted on July 30 in a bubble located in Orlando. The season with a majority of the teams played until October 12, with the LA Lakers winning against the Miami Heat in game 6. But, to keep the 2020-21 season on track, it was planned to start on December 22. For teams that were early exits in the bubble or were not invited at all, the offseason was longer than usual and gave them more than enough time to train and rebuild for the following season, and took advantage of their spare time. Teams that were not invited to the bubble such as the Atlanta Hawks and New York were the 12th and 14th seeds respectively, and now are 4th and 5th seeds this season. But, the condensed schedule did not work out in the favor of late-playoff contenders such as the Denver Nuggets and Boston Celtics, who made it to their conference finals, and the aforementioned Heat and Lakers who stayed in Orlando longer than any other team. With the Finals ending October 12, these two teams only had 71 days before the next season began. For reference, a normal NBA offseason is around 20 weeks, or 140 days. With their expected offseason cut in half, players on these teams did not get enough time to train and condition in order to prevent further injuries. But without that time, injuries of star players rose to a never-before seen levels.


The LA Lakers were hit hard. Star player LeBron James rolled his ankle on March 20, and is still out indefinitely. Also, all-star center Anthony Davis hurt his leg on February 19, and missed 63 days, returning on April 23. With both stars out for over a month, the former league champions went 7-11, losing the 4th seed in the west to the Denver Nuggets. Lakers players Jared Dudley and Alex Caruso are also out due to injury. The Lakers are not the only team to lose star players, as the Nuggets’ backup star Jamal Murray suffered an ACL tear on April 13, sidelining him for the rest of the season and possibly some of the next, as a torn ACL is one of the worst injuries an NBA player can be inflicted with. The Utah Jazz were a first round exit in the bubble, but still stayed longer than most teams. Their star player and all-star Donovan Mitchell sprained his ankle on April 16 and remains out. The Philadelphia 76ers, another first round exit, had another Star Injury. All-star center and MVP candidate Joel Embiid suffered a left knee bone bruise on March 12, and returned April 3.


This season has been nothing short of hectic, with star players dropping left and right. Who knows who will be labeled as “out” next, but fans from all teams are excited for this year’s playoffs, starting May 18, to see the last team (or player) standing.