Injury Analysis: 2020 All-Scar Team
Injury Analysis: 2020 All-Scar Team

This article is part of our NBA Injury Analysis series.

The trade deadline has passed, which means the All-Star break is days away. Before the league's top talent converges on Chicago for the weekend, it is time to hand out a more dubious honor to a select few: a position on the NBA All-Scar Team.

Each team is comprised of players who have seen their season negatively impacted by injuries and have missed, or will miss, significant time recuperating. 

Western Conference All-Scar Team

Backcourt

Klay Thompson and Stephen Curry

Thompson's inclusion as a Western Conference guard isn't overly surprising. The veteran guard tore his left anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) during the 2019 NBA Finals and is expected to miss the entire season recuperating.  His injury didn't reshape most yearly fantasy formats but was a big blow to those in keeper or dynasty leagues. Look for Thompson to return to top form next season, even if he makes a late season return.

While Thompson's absence was expected, no one anticipated his fellow Splash Brother to miss a majority of the season as well. A fractured hand has limited Curry to just four games played after he broke his second metacarpal, an injury that ultimately required two surgeries. He is expected to be back at the beginning of March though most fantasy owner were hoping for more than 20 games played from their likely top overall selection.

Frontcourt

Zion Williamson, Marvin Bagley, Paul Millsap

The Zion hype was palpable during the preseason only to massively come crashing down after the Pelicans rookie tore his meniscus just days before the season started. He missed New Orleans' first 44 games and has since missed an additional game with an ankle sprain. He's been spectacular when on the court but don't be surprised if he missed additional games moving forward as New Orleans carefully monitors his workload.

Bagley's has been mired in a sophomore slump due to a fractured thumb and nagging foot injury. He broke his thumb in the season opener and sat for 23 games. He then suffered a mid-foot sprain in late December and missed an additional eight games. After a brief four game return, he aggravated the injury and could be lost for the season. The team remains noncommittal to his status and he is looking like waiver wire fodder in one-year leagues.

Denver's veteran forward has also been a disappointment in his 14th year in the league. Lingering quad strains followed by a left knee sprain and contusion have cost Millsap 19 games, though he did return to the court over the weekend. The injuries clearly impacted his productivity and it will be interesting to see how his role in Denver plays out over the second half of the season.

Reserves

Zach Collins and Eric Gordon

A chance at increased minutes and an efficient offensive game made Collins a sleeper on draft night. Sadly, he joined teammate Jusuf Nurkic on the injured list in the third game of the season. Collins tore the labrum in his left shoulder and isn't expected back this season.

Gordon's knee has historically been an issue but he has managed to be quite durable in Houston, averaging roughly 71 games played since joining the Rockets. Unfortunately, his knee problems resurfaced in November, forcing him under the knife. He missed 22 games recovering and is currently shelved with a lower leg contusion.

Eastern Conference All-Scar Team

Backcourt

Kyrie Irving and Victor Oladipo

Kyrie's first season in Brooklyn has not gone as smoothly as hoped. He missed 26 games with an odd shoulder injury that was ultimately diagnosed as thoracic bursitis. Irving is currently out with a medial ligament sprain in his right knee and isn't expected back until after the All-Star break.

Oladipo's injury occurred last season but the carryover effect from his torn quadriceps tendon lasted 47 games. He appeared in five games, including two starts, before missing another game for injury management. Look for the Pacers medical team to handle him in similar fashion for the remainder of the season.

Frontcourt

Kevin Durant, Blake Griffin, and Otto Porter Jr.

Durant's Achilles tear will delay his Nets debut for an entire season. Like Thompson, his injury was a bigger deal for keeper or dynasty leagues but his absence has been felt across the NBA. He will be a top pick again next season even if his productivity takes a dip in his first year back.

Griffin's 2019-20 debut was delayed 10 games by knee soreness that persisted throughout the season. He ultimately opted for surgery, undergoing his second knee procedure in the last eight months.

Porter Jr. has missed 45 games with a fracture in his left foot. The injury was originally believed to be a bone contusion but additional testing revealed the outright break. The team is anticipating a late February return though he will likely receive routine days off. 

Reserves

Luke Kennard and Caris LeVert

Like Collins, Kennard had emerged as a sleeper on draft day. Unfortunately, bilateral knee tendinitis has forced him into street clothes for 27 (and counting) of Detroit's games thus far. His absence is expected to carry over through the All-Star break, though a sizable role in the Pistons' offense will be waiting for him when he does eventually return.

Brooklyn had hoped LeVert would be able to makeup some of the scoring punch it would be missing with Durant sidelined. However, LeVert struggled to start the season before tearing a ligament in his thumb. He underwent surgery to mend the area and sat out 24 games. Fortunately, he has shown signs of life with both Durant and Irving sidelined, averaging 29.7 points on 51 percent shooting over the last three games. 

Fast Breaks for the Week Ahead

Jimmy Butler: A shoulder strain kept Butler out of Miami's last two games though it isn't considered serious. He traveled with the team on its current road trip that includes two more games before the break. He will be questionable for Monday's contest. 

Luka Doncic: The Maverick's All-Star could miss his first All-Star Game due to his sprained right ankle. He is reportedly making progress in his recovery but isn't expected back Monday. That leaves him just one more opportunity to suit up before the All-Star game. Look for the Mavs to play things conservatively with the face of their franchise.

Kyle Lowry: The Raptors point guard was spotted wearing a neck brace after suffering whiplash following a collision with teammate Serge Ibaka. Whiplash can be an injury to muscle or ligaments of the neck and is routinely seen in car accidents. Regardless of the type of tissue injured, whiplash can be a very limiting injury. Lowry will play through the injury Monday, but he likely won't be 100 percent.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jeff Stotts
Jeff Stotts works as a Certified Athletic Trainer (MAT, ATC, PES, CES). He won the 2011 Best Fantasy Football Article in Print from the Fantasy Sports Trade Association.
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