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5 NBA Injury Situations Updated as League Resumes

After nearly a three month hiatus from the NBA, players and organizations are finally facing the reality of getting to play basketball again. Some teams will be getting back players and the outlook of their team will be impacted. Each team faces a unique NBA injury situation.

Barring a late snag, such as some or all players refusing to participate, the NBA season is finally set to return on July 31st. The NBA Board of Governors came to a consensus that will allow 22 teams to participate in an 8 game regular season for playoff seeding purposes. Beyond the current 16 playoff teams, New Orleans, Portland, Phoenix, Sacramento, and San Antonio from the West and Washington from the East are the six additional teams joining in Orlando. After the eight regular season games are played, if the 9th seed is more than four games behind the 8th seed, the 8th seed will make the playoffs. Otherwise, if the difference is fewer than four games, there will be a play-in tournament.

Let’s look at five teams that should expect the return of players who were injured at the time the season was stopped, and how their NBA injury situation may affect their team’s chances.

NBA Injury Situations

Miami Heat

  • Meyers Leonard, Tyler Herro

Meyers Leonard was the starting center for the Miami Heat until he suffered a severe ankle sprain on February 3rd. Until that point, Leonard started all 49 games and was a great big man complement next to breakout all-star Bam Adebayo. The Heat struggled heavily at times without Leonard; they didn’t have a reliable backup center and they were often playing small ball with Bam at the 5 and Derrick Jones Jr or Kelly Olynk at the 4.

The acquisition of Jae Crowder and Andre Iguadola made up for some defensive defficiencies the Heat were experiencing but it became evident the Heat are most successful with Leonard on the court; spreading the offense with his 3 point making ability, rebounding, and guarding dominant centers like Joel Embiid to keep Adebayo out of early foul trouble. Rookie Tyler Herro also suffered an ankle sprain and missed 15 games before returning to action the same night the NBA postponed the season. Tyler only logged 7 minutes in that game.

However, with Herro expected to return in July fully healthy, the Heat will have a big boost with its bench scoring and playmaking back. Herro will provide an offensive spark for the second unit that sometimes was nonexistent when he was hurt. Goran Dragic won’t have as much of a ball-handling burden and Herro will help reduce Dragic’s minutes. Although Herro is a rookie and lacks playoff experience, his ambition and confidence shouldl guide him through the tedious postseason. If his defense doesn’t improve though Spoelestra may have no other option but to reduce his minutes, especially in crunch time.

Portland Trailblazers

  • Jusuf Nurkic, Zach Collins

After fracturing his tibia nearly 14 months ago, Jusuf Nurkic is finally seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. Nurkic had planned to return March 15th, just a couple days after the NBA decided to indefinitely postpone the season due to the Covid-19. He will share front-court minutes not only with Hassan Whiteside, but also Zach Collins, who will also be returning from a shoulder injury.

Nurkic was averaging 15.6 ppg, 10.4 rpg, and 3.2 apg before his gruesome leg injury in 2019. Collins was averaging 9 points and 4 rebounds per game on 43% from the three. Portland has had a disappointing season thus far being 8 games under .500. All star Damian Lillard can look for more pick and roll opportunities with his two big men back. All in all, Nurkic and Collins are frontcourt assets Portland will need, especially if they play the Lakers in the first round of the playoffs.

Brooklyn Nets

  • Kyrie Irving 

Kyrie Irving missed 26 games this season due to a right shoulder injury.  He initially returned from his absence, but experienced lingering shoulder pain. Irving finally agreed on February 20th to undergo surgery, causing the Nets to shut him down for the rest of the season. Since there was no timetable for Irving’s return, many speculated a possible comeback, but realistically doctors say the earliest Irving can return is September 3rd, and Irving has already ruled himself out, as has star teammate Kevin Durant. (Irving, VP of the NBA Players Association, has also been at the forefront of raising concerns about the NBA’s return plan).

So the Nets will Spencer Dinwiddie and Caris Levert take the reins of the team and continue to develop into very nice complementary pieces next to Durant and Irving. Playoff experience will definitely catalyze their growth. Due to the injury history of the Brooklyn’s two superstars, adds value to these two. Dinwiddie and Levert’s playmaking and scoring abilities are crucial in Brooklyn securing one of the 8 seeds in the East.

Indiana Pacers

  • Victor Oladipo

Victor Oladipo already made his return to the NBA from a horrid leg injury prior to COVID. Oladipo was out for 11 months. Obviously, people expected some rust and time to adapt to the pace of the game. He only played 14 games but the struggles were evident; Oladipo scored 23.4 PPG on 48% from the field before his injury. He posted 13.8 PPG on 39% from the field when he returned.

Oladipo lacked the consistency that got him to be an all star. An extra 4 months to strengthen and heal could be vital to Indiana’s playoff push. If Oladipo is healthy and playing like himself, you can expect a high scoring, efficient guard to significantly improve Indiana’s outlook in the Eastern conference. And you can expect other teams that covet him — like the Heat — to be watching.

Phoenix Suns

  • Kelly Oubre

Phoenix Suns wing Kelly Oubre underwent right knee surgery for a torn meniscus in early March. His status to return was unclear but now Oubre’s return is likely and very much needed. He experienced a breakout season. Oubre’s averaging 18.7 ppg, 6.4 rpg, 45% from the field, and 35% from the three (all career highs).

Oubre will be part of a young improving core along with All Star Devin Booker and 2018 first overall pick DeAndre Ayton that will try and make noise this year and will gain valuable playoff experience for the future.

La lesión de Kevin Durant y su motivación a los Warriors

Kevin Durant hizo todo lo que pudo para regresar y disputar el quinto juego de la NBA.

Los Golden State Warriors fueron ampliamente superados en el Oracle Arena en los juegos tres y cuatro, y cayeron a un solo juego de perder su segunda final en los últimos cuatro años.

La dinastía se tambalea en manos de los Raptors, que desaprovecharon una oportunidad única para titularse por primera vez en la historia.

Los Warriors eran superiores con su superestrella diezmada en cancha, hasta que llegó lo que parecía inevitable.

Kevin Durant cayó abatido, tras aportar 11 puntos, incluyendo un impoluto 3 de 3 en disparos de tres puntos, dejando a su equipo en ventaja.

En el episodio 38 Cinco Razones Podcast conversamos con Andrés Rodríguez, especialista en Strenght and Conditioning, certificado por la National Strenght and Conditioning Association, y dueño de Beast Mode Performance, sobre este tipo de lesiones y qué pudo haberla causado.

Luego, nos dedicamos a analizar qué le faltó a Toronto para coronarse esa noche, incluyendo la falta de disparos desde el perímetro, el tiempo pedido por el DT de los Raptors Nick Nurse en el momento clave del último cuarto, Kawhi Leonard y el infame disparo de Kyle Lowry.

Finalmente, tuvimos que hablar sobre la reacción de los fanáticos de los Raptors cuando Kevin Durant cayó lesionado y la posibilidad de que la NBA sancione a la organización por esta actitud.

¿No sería eso lo correcto?

Tema para otro día…

Pronósticos para la final de la NBA

En Cinco Razones Podcast dimos nuestros pronósticos hace una semana, y todos fallamos, tal y como lo hizo Kyle Lowry con el tiro ganador en el quinto juego de la final.

Lo asumimos, y lo volvemos a intentar. Vamos a ver si podemos acertar algo, alguna vez. Estos fueron los pronósticos:

Ricardo Montes de Oca

Pronóstico inicial: Golden State Warriors en cinco juegos

Segundo pronóstico: Toronto Raptors en seis juegos

Leandro Soto

Pronóstico inicial: Golden State Warriors en seis juegos

Segundo pronóstico: Toronto Raptors en seis juegos

Alejandro Villegas

Pronóstico inicial: Golden State Warrios en seis juegos

Segundo pronóstico: Toronto Raptors en siete juegos

 

En Cinco Razones Podcast por lo general no estamos de acuerdo. No es fácil lidiar con esos señores. Disfruta de todos nuestros episodios haciendo click en este link.

¿Cambia la balanza con las lesiones de Golden State?

Los Golden State Warriors han estado lidiando con varias lesiones de gravedad desde que Kevin Durant tuvo que salir con problemas en su pantorrilla.

Steph Curry tomó la batuta del equipo y lograron barrer a Portland en cuatro encuentros en las finales de la Conferencia del Oeste, y parecía que todo iba encaminado al cuarto título en los últimos cinco años.

Sin embargo, todo se ha ido complicando.

Los Toronto Raptors vencieron en el primero de la final gracias a un imponente Pascal Siakam y se empezaron a prender las alarmas cuando iban ganando tras los primeros dos cuartos del segundo encuentro.

Parecía que los Warriors dejaban de parecer invencibles, hasta que llegó la gran remontada característica de este equipo, y con un parcial de 18-0, apaciguaron las aguas turbulentas en las que estaban entrando.

Sin embargo, no todo fueron buenas noticias para Golden State.

Steph Curry ha estado jugando con gripe, al parecer. Kevon Looney se partió la clavícula y se perderá el resto de la final, Klay Thompson salió renqueando con problemas en su bíceps femoral derecho, André Igoudala sigue jugando con fuertes molestias en la rodilla, y Kevin Durant… No estará para el tercer juego.

Ahora mas que nunca respiran aliviados sabiendo que la serie está empatada, con toda la pinta de que va a ser un enfrentamiento intenso y largo.

¿Cambian estas lesiones el favoritismo de la final de la NBA?

Antes de comenzar la serie se discutía era en cuántos duelos Golden State sería capaz de derrotar a Toronto, sin siquiera pensarse que los Raptors tendrían alguna oportunidad de llevarse esta final.

El nuevo panorama que se presenta con estas lesiones de jugadores claves hace replantearnos un poco quién es el equipo favorito para esta nueva serie para el mejor de cinco encuentros, con tres juegos por disputarse en el Oracle Arena y dos en el Jurassic Park.

Escuche la segunda parte del episodio 37 de Cinco Razones Podcast, en el que Ricardo Montes de Oca, Leandro Soto y Alejandro Villegas discuten si estas heridas de guerra de los Warriors cambian el ángulo con el que se analiza la final de la NBA:

 

En Cinco Razones Podcast nos gusta hablar de basket, pero sobretodo cuando juega el Miami Heat. Visita nuestro perfil haciendo click en este link y escucha otros de nuestros capítulos. 

 

Marc Stein on Pat Riley: “I won’t doubt him again”

The newly-minted Basketball Hall of Famer, Marc Stein — long of ESPN and now of The New York Times — joined the Five Reasons Sports flagship on Thursday to discuss the NBA playoffs, NBA player movement, the Miami Heat and Dirk Nowitzki and Dwyane Wade.

You can find the full episode here: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/marc-stein-on-nba-playoffs-riley-wade-dirk/id1336060206?i=1000435259473

Here are some highlights:

On Pat Riley…

 

On Kevin Durant and the New York Knicks….

 

On the Miami Heat’s trade for Jimmy Butler falling through with the Minnesota Timberwolves….