The NBA has been riddled with injury woes this season. Almost every star player has taken time off this year. It has often come because of COVID-19 protocols, while others have been unable to stay fit for a condensed 72-game season. The Lakers recently cleared Anthony Davis to return as they reported he has healed from a right calf strain and is "days away." Fans in Milwaukee took a blow when their star forward and reigning MVP, Giannis Antetokounmpo, went down with an injury against the Phoenix Suns.
Updates of 10 NBA stars out due to injury
Fans have not seen significant NBA action in the past few weeks. Apart from the famous superstars, a bevy of team leaders have been absent as well. The Thunder are missing Shai Gilgeous-Alexander while the Bulls' Zach LaVine will be out for several games due to the league's health and safety protocols. Celtics' Kemba Walker and Heat's Bam Adebayo are both unavailable, while the Indiana Pacers also suffer without Domantas Sabonis. These are just a few of the names absent from NBA action. On that note, let's look at some bigger names who aren't stepping on the hardwood anytime soon.
#10 Donovan Mitchell
The team with the best record in the NBA took a blow when their star guard and scoring leader, Donovan Mitchell, suffered an injury. He hurt his right ankle in the game against Indiana and will be re-evaluated in a week.
In addition to Mitchell; Jordan Clarkson, Rudy Gobert, Mike Conley, Ersan Ilyasova and Derrick Favors have all missed games for the Utah Jazz due to injury. No structural damage to Donovan Mitchell's ankle was revealed during the latest MRI.
#9 Jamal Murray
Hearts of Denver fans skipped a beat when their star point guard Jamal Murray went down with an injury against the Golden State Warriors. He tore the ACL in his left knee with 50 seconds left in the game. The Nuggets announced that he will miss the remainder of the season. Several analysts have speculated that this means an end to the Denver Nuggets' title hopes.
#8 Ben Simmons
NBA Defensive Player of the Year candidate, Ben Simmons, has reportedly been ruled out with a non-COVID-related illness. He didn't play in the Philadelphia 76ers' last game against the Golden State Warriors, which resulted in his team's loss, courtesy of some spectacular shooting by Stephen Curry. Many believe if Simmons was guarding Curry, the game would have gone differently.
Star center Joel Embiid recently returned from injury and forward Tobias Harris is out indefinitely as well due to knee soreness. Simmons continues to be listed as questionable and his definite return is unknown.
#7 Jimmy Butler
Jimmy Butler missed several games at the start of the season and is out yet again because of an ankle injury. He hasn't played in the Miami Heat's last two games.
Butler is expected to come back soon, but there is no solid date set for his return. The team has listed him as questionable for their next game against San Antonio.
#6 Damian Lillard
Damian Lillard has missed his third straight game due to a hamstring injury. The scary news for Portland fans is that coach Terry Stotts has no update on his status. Lillard is suffering from right hamstring tendinopathy and there is no timetable for his return.
CJ McCollum, Zach Collins, and Jusuf Nurkic have all missed games due to severe injury issues and the Portland lineup has taken a major hit this season.
#5 Kawhi Leonard
The Clippers announced the injury and absence of yet another star, Kawhi Leonard. He will be out for at least a week as he manages soreness in his right foot. He has missed four consecutive games in the last five and will be re-evaluated in a week. He has missed 13 games this season and his absence severely hurts the LA Clippers on both ends of the floor.
#4 Giannis Antetokounmpo
Giannis Antetokounmpo left the game against Phoenix with a leg cramp. He has missed a significant amount of time of late. The Greek Freak has missed 9 games this season, out of which, 8 came in the past month alone. His knee has given him trouble and the Bucks have now listed him as "day-to-day," with no fixed date for his return.
#3 James Harden
James Harden's absence has been a major story this month. He has missed 9 games, including the last six in a row. Harden suffered a major hamstring injury and is out indefinitely. His rehabilitation was going well until the team announced that he suffered a "setback." According to the Nets, they are now "back to square one." Harden's injury was aggravated and now the team does not know when he will return or if he will be healthy come playoff time.
#2 Kevin Durant
The superstar who has seen more time on the sidelines than on the court, Kevin Durant, has played in just 24 games this season. The Nets forward missed 22 games in a row in the middle and returned from a hamstring injury this week. Unfortunately, he injured himself again against the Miami Heat. He suffered a left thigh contusion after a collision with Trevor Ariza and had to be escorted out in the first quarter.
Coach Steve Nash is optimistic about Durant's return, however, there is no date or timetable for the same. The Nets face the harsh reality that their superstar is extremely injury-prone. There is no guarantee that he will be healthy come playoff time.
#1 LeBron James
LeBron James, the face of the league, is out until further notice as he recovers from his ankle injury. Solomon Hill rolled over on James' ankle in the game against the Atlanta Hawks, which has kept the 36-year-old out indefinitely. The league is just not the same without LeBron James and he is reportedly several weeks away from NBA action. The LA Lakers announced that he is progressing to 'light work' on the court and they don't want to rush his return.
James has now missed the last 16 games in a row and LA Lakers fans are holding their breath as the team has no answer as to whether the four-time MVP will be back before the playoffs.