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Midseason Awards: All-Injury Teams

Tracy McGrady

by Eric Wong on January 27, 2010

In case you didn’t know, T-Mac is the team captain of the All-Injury squad.

Our Midseason Awards continue with 16 of the most injured players for the 1st half of this season. Obviously, the number of games missed plays a big part in this, but I also give bonus points to players who get injured, come back, and then get hurt again, or guys who have an extensive history of missing games.

In our next article, we’ll examine the All-Inconsistent Teams…

All-Injury 1st team

PG: Leandro Barbosa

18 games missed this season (and counting)
12 games missed last year

Barbosa was supposed to thrive this season in Phoenix, instead he’s battled injuries all season long. Unfortunately, it started over the summer, which should have been a warning for us. Barbosa led his Brazilian team to a gold medal win in the FIBA Americas Tournament, but the Arizona Republic described him as “a walking ice bag” afterwards because he hurt his wrists, knee, and hand during the tourney. Wrist soreness lingered into the season, and in this Nov. 3rd blog from Paul Coro, you can read how he developed a cyst and it got progressively worse.

LB returned to action soon after, but he sprained his ankle at the end of November, which forced him to miss most of December (he was surely dropped in most leagues by this point). The Blur started to show some promise with a 17 point, 4 assist, 4 steal performance vs. Boston right before New Years, but his minutes and production have been mediocre at best since then. And now FINALLY, over 12 weeks after he initially got diagnosed with a cyst inside his wrist, he had surgery to remove it on Tuesday. He’ll be out another month or more, and it looks like this just isn’t his year. Sorry LB.

SG: Michael Redd

25 games missed this season (and counting)
49 games missed last year

You should have seen this coming. Redd missed most of last season after tearing the ACL and MCL in his left knee. He had surgery in March, and returned to the court in early October (just 7 months later). Very few players have returned just 7 months after tearing both the ACL and MCL, and Redd has the body of a 30-year old, not a 20-year old (big difference). As a result, I warned everyone to avoid him completely on draft day.

It didn’t take long for Redd’s gimpy knee to act up. He scored 17 points in 39 minutes in the season opener, but played just 24 minutes in game 2 before leaving with “knee soreness.” He missed the next 9 games, then returned for 63 more game minutes before experiencing more pain. So he missed another 7 games then returned, but was inconsistent at best. Redd’s season ended on Jan. 10th, when he simply planted his left knee and it went out. He reportedly suffered the same tears in the same knee, but it doesn’t take a genius to see that his knee never properly healed in the first place. He intends to have surgery again in the next week or so, and he’s going to try to come back again. Don’t even think about drafting him next year.

SF: Tracy McGrady

38 games missed this season (and counting)
games missed last year

Speaking of players with knee problems whom you shouldn’t have even considered drafting, McGrady has played just 46 total minutes this season. He has a valuable expiring contract and thus he could get traded before the deadline, but who knows when or even IF he’ll get a chance to play again. The only thing I know is that T-Mac is the team captain of the All-Injury squad, and if someone wants to learn how to make $23 million for sitting in street clothes, I advise you to speak to him.

According to T-Mac, he was ready to return to the court on Dec. 1st, but the Rockets weren’t having that. He made his debut a couple weeks later, but was limited to just 8 minutes for 6 games in a row before Houston pulled the plug. So they weren’t even able to show that his knee is okay, but it might not even matter. T-Mac has become a wanted man not for his scoring abilities or a healthy knee, but for salary cap relief. Don’t you love our economy?

PF: Blake Griffin

44 games missed this season (and counting)
In college last year

I feel blessed for actually getting to see Blake Griffin play this year. I went to his home preseason debut on Oct. 9th, where he went for 8 points, 5 rebounds, 5 fouls, 2 assists, and a steal in 21 minutes off the bench. Seeing him live, I LOVED his hustle and energy, and potential in getting steals and easy fast-break buckets, but I warned to be careful of him on draft day because “Griffin is an unproven shot-blocker and a poor free throw shooter.”

The warning didn’t matter, because Blake suffered a stress fracture in his left kneecap soon after. Some people used a mid-round pick on Griffin, but I knew that Kevin Love would be the much safer and more proven player to pick. Unfortunately, Griffin saw a specialist in January after suffering discomfort in his knee, and was told that additional surgery was required. Blake was understandably bummed, as his rookie season had to be pushed back another year. If healthy he’s going to be a very exciting player to watch, so let’s all hope that his rehab goes smoother than the man’s below.

C: Greg Oden

25 games missed this season (and counting)
21 games missed last year

I feel bad for Oden, and since his personal disappointment has got to outweigh that of any of his fantasy owners, I’m sparing him from being on my “Biggest Disappointments” list. That’s because when he played this season, he actually put up some strong numbers and looked fairly good. Unfortunately, his season came crashing down on Dec. 5th when he ALSO fractured his left kneecap.

Of course this is just another in the already long list of major injuries for Oden, which is not a good sign considering that he just turned 22. While he still has lots of potential, he could just as easily land on the All-Injury team year after year.

All-Injury 2nd team

PG: Jameer Nelson

16 games missed this season
40 games missed last year

After the phenomenal stats that Nelson posted in 42 games last year, many of us were eager to see what he could do over a full season. Well he didn’t get a chance, as he had minor knee in mid-November and missed over a month of action. Jameer returned before Christmas, but it took him awhile to get going.

Nelson played a season-high 39 minutes last Saturday en route to 21 points and 7 assists, so perhaps he’s healthy now, which can’t be said for any of the players on the 1st team. Still, if he suffers another major injury he’ll start getting the “injury-prone” tag.

SG: Kevin Martin

32 games missed this season
31 games missed last year

Martin has already missed 32 games this year, which means that he’s now missed 84 games over the past 2 1/2 seasons. The frail one should be in his prime right now (he turns 27 on Feb. 1st), but instead injuries have set him back in recent years. Now he’s having trouble adjusting since he’s no longer “the man,” and this is something that will continue to happen if he can never stay healthy.

Of course, Kev-Mart is another guy who I said to be careful of in the preseason, as his body has held up for 75+ games just ONCE. My injury ratings exist to penalize players like this, and coupled with the “be careful” warning, it was hopefully enough for you to draft a healthier body instead.

SF: Mike Miller

28 games missed this season
9 games missed last year

Miller is many things, but he’s not the toughest guy around. He played in all 82 games his rookie year back in 2000-2001, but has played 75+ games just ONCE since then. That’s one reason why I said to be careful of him. He’s often had to battle minor injuries here and there, and that’s what we thought the case was this season when he sprained his shoulder in early November.

Miller missed a few games and returned, but soon after he aggravated his shoulder and strained a calf to boot. The calf injury sidelined him for longer than most expected, which meant that owners who picked him up had to wait longer than they wanted to. When he came back, he aggravated the calf injury this time and had to miss another week. He’s FINALLY healthy and played 36 minutes on Tuesday, so perhaps he’ll be fine for the 2nd half.

PF: Kevin Garnett

11 games missed this season
25 games missed last year

Before he played for Boston, Garnett was considered an ironman, as he had NEVER missed more than 6 games in a season until ’07-08. But now he’s missed 36 regular season and 14 postseason games over the past 1 and 1/2 seasons, and at the age of 33, we can no longer trust his knees.

KG returned to action last week and had his highest scoring game (17 points) since Dec. 18th on Monday, so things are looking positive for now. Just remember that Boston won’t take any chances with him, as they can cruise into the playoffs regardless. At this point in his career, an 80+ game season seems out of the question.

C: Tyson Chandler

19 games missed this season (and counting)
37 games missed last year

For a guy who played poorly and missed lots of games last year, Chandler has done a fine job of playing even worse and possibly missing even more games. His 6.6 points and 50% FG shooting marks are his lowest since ’04-05, and his 6.9 rebounds are his lowest since ’02-03. That’s pretty bad when you consider how desperately Charlotte needs him in the paint.

TC will blame the stress reaction in his left foot for his poor play thus far. The injury has caused him to miss over a month of action already, but he wants to return sometime in the next week. Of course, once he returns there is no guarantee that he’ll be close to 100% healthy, and he could just as easily be shelved again. If there’s one thing I’ve learned from Tyson Chandler, it’s that you can’t trust him.

Honorable Mentions:

Ben Gordon, Richard Hamilton, Tayshaun Prince

18 games missed for Gordon
27 games missed for Hamilton
32 games missed for Prince
77 games missed total

Detroit deserves a special mention here, because their veteran wing trio has missed a combined 77 games already. While I didn’t expect injuries to strike all of them, I said to avoid Hamilton completely and to be careful of both Gordon and Prince before the season began.

Gordon sprained an ankle in late November, came back too soon, sat out a bunch more games, came back and scored his 10,000th NBA point, tweaked his hamstring, then hurt his groin. Since the initial ankle injury, he has just TWO 20+ point games under his belt. Hopefully that will change soon, as he’s scheduled to return soon.

Hamilton dropped 25 points in the season opener then missed the next month and a half. He played a couple games then sat out again. He’s put up solid stats in January, but there’s a good chance that he’s doing so for a DIFFERENT fantasy owner than the one who drafted him.

Likewise, Prince played in 3 games to start the year before missing nearly 2 full months with a back injury. He played a few games then hurt his knee, missing even more time. He’s back in the lineup again, but you can’t trust him in a Detroit uniform anymore, as the Pistons have little incentive to throw him out there when he’s ailing.

Andris Biedrins, Ronny Turiaf

25 games missed for Biedrins
28 games missed for Turiaf
53 games missed total

If either Turiaf or Biedrins had been 100% healthy for the entire 1st half of this season, the healthy one would have put up big-time numbers. Instead, both guys got injured right away and have struggled to get in shape and stay on the court.

Biedrins played in 4 of the first 5 games before succumbing to an abdominal injury. He didn’t return to action until after Christmas, and it took him a few weeks to get his conditioning back. Now he appears to be healthy, but Turiaf is also back, so he didn’t take advantage like his fantasy owners were hoping for.

Likewise, Turiaf played in the first 2 games of the season, but quickly tweaked the same knee that caused him to miss most of preseason. He returned a month later and hurt the same knee again, forcing him to miss ANOTHER month. After a brief stretch of games, he hurt his ankle this time and missed another 4 games. Now he’s supposedly healthy, but so is his buddy Biedrins.

Josh Howard

21 games missed this season
30 games missed last year

A year ago Howard won my “Most Annoying Player to Own” award (AKA The Josh Howard award), and he was certainly in the running to win it again. However, since expectations were already very low due to last year’s debacle, I’ve decided to honor him with simply an All-Injury honorable mention. He certainly deserves it of course, which is why I said to avoid him completely in the preseason.

Per usual, Howard sat out Dallas’ first 5 games, returned to play poorly in 3, missed the next 13 contests, played in 2, sat out 1, played in 12 in a row (!), missed 1 more, played in 4, then sat out another. Whether from his bad ankle acting up, a hamstring injury, a sore thigh, or a sudden illness, Howard knows how to miss ballgames. As of today he’s playing again, but his minutes have been limited and I sure hope that you don’t own him. With 21 games already missed this season, J-Ho has now sat out 95 regular season games since the ’05-06 season.
Eff you too buddy!

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