Aside from COVID-19 having an impact on player availability on a night-to-night basis in the NBA this season, injuries have also been piling up across the league. The rise in injuries may be stemming from a more condensed schedule and shortened offseason due to the pandemic as the league tries returning to its traditional schedule for the 2021-22 campaign. While there haven't been as many season-ending injuries as we've seen in the past, it always feels like a star player is missing two or three weeks due to a nagging injury suffered in a game or practice.
Unfortunately, injuries are a part of the game, and this season has seen its fair share of them. To keep you updated, here's a running list of all the major injuries in the NBA, and how they are affecting teams and players moving forward. To see every team's current injury situation, click here.
The Lakers have been hampered with injuries this season. It began with Anthony Davis going down with a strained calf. LeBron James soon joined him on the sidelined with a high ankle sprain, and newly signed Andre Drummond, brought in to help overcome A.D.'s absence, hurt his toe in his Lakers debut. Fortunately, the team is hopeful that Davis, who's missed the past 25 games due to discomfort in his Achilles' tendon along with an adjacent calf strain, returns to the lineup in the next 10-14 days, according to Adrian Wojnarowski and Dave McMenamin of ESPN.
The Warriors will be without James Wiseman for possibly the rest of the season after the rookie suffered a meniscus injury in his right knee, the team announced Sunday. While the Warriors will consult with doctors about the big man's status, ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski says the expectations are his season is likely over. The injury occurred on Saturday night when Wiseman landed awkwardly after a dunk attempt.
Victor Oladipo injured his knee during the Heat's game against the Lakers on Thursday, where he went up for a dunk and landed awkwardly. He hobbled to the locker and Miami shortly announced he wouldn't return. Despite optimism afterward that he was "OK" and the injury might've been "a little scare" more than anything, Oladipo did not accompany the team on its next road trip. He's been listed as having "right knee soreness," but when asked if Oladipo would play again this season, head coach Erik Spoelstra declined to say, as the team is still analyzing his injury and determining just how much time he'll miss. Initial X-rays of his knee after Thursday's game came back negative, and he had an MRI the following day, but the Heat didn't release the results. This is just the latest blow to Oladipo's return after rupturing his quad in 2019 when he was still on the Pacers, as minor injuries here and there have halted his progression to get back to the All-Star level he was playing at prior to the injury.
James Harden's return to Brooklyn's lineup was short-lived. After missing two games with a hamstring injury, Harden returned to action against the Knicks on Monday night, but he lasted just four minutes before he left the game and didn't return due to hamstring tightness. The team announced Tuesday that Harden underwent an MRI which revealed a hamstring strain, and will be reevaluated in 10 days.
Gordon Hayward suffered a right foot sprain against the Indiana Pacers on April 2, and he will be sidelined for at least four weeks due to the injury. The injury occurred in the second quarter of the contest against the Pacers when Hayward drove at center Myles Turner. He stepped on Turner's foot and immediately crumpled to the floor. The loss of Hayward is a big blow to the Hornets, who are in the midst of a tight battle for playoff positioning in the East and are already without rookie LaMelo Ball for the foreseeable future due to a fractured wrist.
LeBron James suffered a high-ankle sprain on March 20 when he tried to corral a loose ball, which led to Hawks forward Solomon Hill falling on top of his right ankle. It's been reported that James could miss up to a month of action, which is a monumental blow for a Lakers team that is teetering with falling further down the standings in the Western Conference. It's obvious LeBron is at the center of everything the Lakers do, so losing him for a significant amount of time isn't ideal. In the six games he's been out already, L.A. has gone 2-4, and it doesn't look like it'll get much better than that with the reigning Finals MVP sidelined.
When LaMelo Ball went down with a fractured wrist, it was a punch to the gut for a Hornets team that's become the most exciting squad to watch in 2020-21. It was made even worse by the original announcement that he could miss the remainder of the season. However, after undergoing surgery, the team said he would be re-evaluated in four weeks to determine the next steps in his recovery process, leaving the door slightly ajar for a possible return this season. Luckily for Charlotte, its depth at the guard position with Terry Rozier and Devonte' Graham has carried this team to a 4-2 record in Ball's absence. It also helps that Gordon Hayward is putting up his best numbers since his last season in Utah, helping the Hornets stay afloat in a tight playoff race in the East. Charlotte currently holds the fourth seed, and although there's still plenty of basketball left for that to change, this team has the depth to maintain in the 4-7 range in the East while Ball is out. If the front-runner for Rookie of the Year is able to return in time for the playoffs, Charlotte could surprise a top seed in the first round.
After putting up 31 points in a win over the Timberwolves on March 22, it was reported after the game that Shai Gilgeous-Alexander would miss time due to plantar fasciitis. It's unclear exactly how much time that could end up being, but Thunder head coach Mark Daigneault said last week that he would miss "significant time" with the injury. Plantar fasciitis is a fickle injury, and has kept players out for more time than expected in the past. A recent example is Domantas Sabonis, who didn't play in the Orlando bubble at all due to the same injury. OKC is in the midst of a rebuilding year, and SGA is seen as the centerpiece of this young franchise so you can expect the Thunder will be incredibly cautious with his return.
The Knicks are having their most successful season in a decade, but suffered a setback when Mitchell Robinson went down with a fractured foot on March 27. Robinson had surgery to repair his foot, but no timetable has been given on his return. He could potentially even be done for the season. This is just the latest setback for to the big man, who recently came back from a broken hand this season, and has had a list of other injuries which have limited him to just 66 games in his first three seasons in the league. For the Knicks, losing the rim protection Robinson provides is a huge blow as they try to get back to the playoffs for the first time since 2013. New York will have to lean heavily on Nerlens Noel and Taj Gibson in Robinson's absence and hope that will be enough for the time being.