NBA Top 5: Injuries to watch heading into postseason
You can't wait for the playoffs. We get it. This shortened NBA season had its moments and offered new ways to cash in because of its frenzied schedule. But this playing-out-the-string stuff is not fun.
It appears many stars believe the same thing. Several high-profile players have taken time off to rest heading into the postseason. So, while we wait for the second season to begin, let's analyze some of those injuries:
Derrick Rose, Chicago Bulls
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THE SKINNY: Rose, a key to any lengthy Chicago run, is battling a foot issue. But he traveled with the Bulls to Charlotte for Wednesday's game against the Bobcats. Whether he plays or not, for purposes of our discussion, really doesn't matter. What does matter is that tests on Rose's right foot revealed no serious damage. Chicago has officially listed him as day-to-day, but aren't we all? When the games truly start to count, you’ll see Rose, averaging 22.5 points this season, in the red and black.
Kobe Bryant, Los Angeles Lakers
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THE SKINNY: Bryant has already missed six games with a shin injury and likely won’t suit up against the Warriors Wednesday. Los Angeles coach Mike Brown didn't exactly rule him out, but hinted he'd probably be in a suit again while the Lakers take on Golden State. This game is immaterial over the long haul. He should be back against San Antonio Friday, and that still leaves him some time to sharpen things before the real games begin. Bryant is averaging 28.1 points and 4.6 assists.
Dwyane Wade, Miami Heat
ODDS TO WIN NBA TITLE: +140
THE SKINNY: Back-to-back games in this shortened season just aren’t his bag anymore. When he plays one, he won't play the other. These decisions are killing people's fantasy teams, but the reality is, when it's "go" time, Wade will be ready. He hasn't played on both sides of a back-to-back since March. Still, Wade has wonderful numbers and will be a key cog as the Heat try to return to the NBA Finals. Wade is averaging 22.6 points per game.
Dwight Howard, Orlando Magic
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THE SKINNY: Howard hasn't been as lucky as the previous three. His postseason status is in jeopardy, as the Magic try to journey on without him. Howard, suffering from a back injury, will be re-evaluated in about a week and, at this point, his status lies in just how his body responds to the treatment. But for a player who's averaging 20.6 points and 14.5 rebounds, the only way the Magic are going to go without him, is down.
Amar’e Stoudemire, New York Knicks
ODDS TO WIN NBA TITLE: +3,500
THE SKINNY: The Knicks seem destined for the No. 7 seed and that would likely draw the Heat in Round 1. It could be ugly, but New York has a better shot at the upset if a healthy Stoudemire, out with a back injury, is on the floor. He can play defense when he chooses to and is averaging 17.6 points and eight rebounds. Not bad for a player who has just 43 games under him this season. Stoudemire is on his way and could play against Cleveland Friday. If he gets in a New York postseason groove, you never know what could happen.