6 best players injured in 2024 NBA playoffs

NBA: Oklahoma City Thunder at Milwaukee Bucks
6 best players injured in 2024 NBA playoffs

The 2024 NBA playoffs' first round has featured numerous electrifying performances, with six players tallying 40-plus-point games so far. However, some series have been hampered by injuries, with several big-name players sidelined across the league.

Entering Monday, 15 teams remain in the playoffs, with the Phoenix Suns being the lone eliminated squad after being swept 4-0 by the Minnesota Timberwolves. Of those 15 teams, five are without one or more of their top players.

On that note, here are the top six stars listed as out as of Monday morning.


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Top 6 stars sidelined in 2024 NBA playoffs


#6. Julius Randle

New York Knicks star forward Julius Randle (right)
New York Knicks star forward Julius Randle (right)

The New York Knicks suffered a tough blow when star forward Julius Randle underwent season-ending right shoulder surgery on April 9.

After dislocating his shoulder on Jan. 27, the three-time All-Star reportedly did everything he could to return by the start of the playoffs. However, he was ultimately left with no choice but to undergo surgery, sidelining him for at least five months.

Fortunately for the Knicks, they have fared well in Randle's absence, leading the Philadelphia 76ers 3-1 in their first-round playoff series. They will look to close out the Sixers during Tuesday's Game 5 showdown in New York.


#5. Damian Lillard

Milwaukee Bucks star point guard Damian Lillard
Milwaukee Bucks star point guard Damian Lillard

Star point guard Damian Lillard led the Milwaukee Bucks in scoring over their first three playoff games against the Indiana Pacers (32.3 points per game). However, he suffered a strained Achilles during Friday's Game 3 loss, sidelining him for Game 4 on Sunday.

Per The Athletic's Shams Charania, Lillard played through Achilles soreness for weeks before aggravating his injury.

The Bucks went 2-1 with Lillard and dropped Game 4 without him to fall behind 3-1 in their first-round series. So, they face elimination during Tuesday's Game 5 clash in Milwaukee, with the eight-time All-Star's status in question.


#4. Zion Williamson

New Orleans Pelicans star forward Zion Williamson
New Orleans Pelicans star forward Zion Williamson

New Orleans Pelicans star forward Zion Williamson suffered a left hamstring strain during his team's April 16 play-in tournament loss to the LA Lakers. He has been out since, with New Orleans falling into a 3-0 playoff series deficit against the Western Conference-leading OKC Thunder.

Per Pelicans coach Willie Green, the two-time All-Star has been cleared for stationary drills but still isn't running. Additionally, Willamson has been ruled out for Monday's Game 4 face-off.

NBA teams are 0-152 all-time when trailing 3-0 in the playoffs. So, it appears unlikely the 23-year-old will make his postseason debut this year.


#3. Jimmy Butler

Miami Heat superstar forward Jimmy Butler
Miami Heat superstar forward Jimmy Butler

Miami Heat superstar forward Jimmy Butler has been sidelined since April 17 after suffering a sprained right MCL during his team's play-in loss to the Philadelphia 76ers.

The six-time All-Star is expected to miss several weeks due to the injury. The Heat trail the league-best Boston Celtics 2-1 in their first-round playoff series and aren't projected to put up a significant fight in Butler's absence. Thus, he will likely miss the entirety of Miami's postseason run.


#2. Kawhi Leonard

LA Clippers superstar forward Kawhi Leonard
LA Clippers superstar forward Kawhi Leonard

LA Clippers superstar forward Kawhi Leonard missed the regular season's final eight games due to right knee inflammation. He was subsequently ruled out for Game 1 of LA's first-round playoff series against the Dallas Mavericks, with concern growing surrounding his availability.

To the surprise of many, Leonard returned for Games 2 and 3 but didn't look like himself. He averaged just 12.0 ppg on 45.8% shooting over two outings before being ruled for Sunday's Game 4. The Clippers lost both contests with the two-time NBA champion available and won both games without him, tying their series 2-2.

Per ESPN's Ohm Youngmisuk, Leonard will be sidelined indefinitely, jeopardizing his status for the remainder of the first round.


#1. Giannis Antetokounmpo

Milwaukee Bucks superstar forward Giannis Antetokounmpo (middle)
Milwaukee Bucks superstar forward Giannis Antetokounmpo (middle)

Milwaukee Bucks superstar forward Giannis Antetokounmpo has yet to suit up in the postseason due to a left calf strain. The two-time MVP last played on April 9, missing the regular season's final three games and Milwaukee's first four Round 1 playoff contests against Indiana.

The Bucks have struggled without their leading regular-season scorer (30.4 ppg over 73 games), falling behind 3-1 against the Pacers. As mentioned, they face elimination at home on Tuesday. Antetokounmpo has reportedly yet to participate in team drills. So, the one-time NBA champion's status for Game 5 remains in doubt.


Also Read: 5 NBA teams without Finals appearance ft. LA Clippers

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