The last thing sports fans want to see is a player go down with an injury. Unfortunately, this has been an issue encountered in all sports, but particularly in the NBA. Through just two weeks, almost every team has a few players sitting out to some extent due to injury. With contending teams in both conferences experiencing key players sitting out, how will this affect their performance and record throughout the season?
The Cavaliers have yet to see how newly acquired All-Star point guard Isaiah Thomas will impact the team. Thomas, who is suffering from a recurring hip-injury, aims to return to the hardwood sometime in January. Though he hasn’t played with the team yet, Thomas’ efficient scoring is an element that the Cavaliers will utilize to their advantage in their quest for another championship, as he finished third in scoring last year by averaging 28.9 points per game. Cleveland did manage to sign the injury-prone former MVP Derrick Rose this offseason, though he has already suffered a mild ankle injury in just the second game. The Cavaliers’ lack of a consistently healthy point guard may potentially cost them a few wins in the time being.
Gordon Hayward’s Celtics debut was cut unexpectedly short when he suffered a gruesome leg injury just 5 minutes into the season opener. Hayward, who signed with the team in free agency, was projected to be the key piece to push Boston past Cleveland to potentially represent the Eastern Conference in the NBA Finals. That may not be the case anymore this season as the former All-Star is doubtful to return for the remainder of this year. Though his absence will be felt, third overall pick Jayson Tatum and second year forward Jaylen Brown will look to gain professional experience and showcase their athleticism as they start in his position.
San Antonio Spurs
Despite star forward Kawhi Leonard and veteran point guard Tony Parker missing their starts to this season, the Spurs have rallied to a 4-2 record to open the season. Leonard and Parker are both recovering from injuries to their quadriceps, but are expected to return to action soon. Parker is currently practicing with the Spurs’ affiliate team to regain his physicality while Coach Popovich has recently announced that Leonard can make his season debut as soon as early November. In the meantime, second year guard Dejounte Murray and recently acquired forward Rudy Gay will remain their replacements while Popovich patiently waits for his players to be medically cleared.
The Rockets didn’t have the debut they anticipated from their new point guard Chris Paul because of knee soreness he was suffering from in the season opener against the Warriors. Though it doesn’t appear to be serious, Paul is expected to miss 2-4 weeks while he mends the discomfort in his knee, with Coach D’Antoni wanting to hold him out until he is 100%. In the meantime, James Harden will continue to be the primary ball handler and run the offense.