Beginning with a shortened schedule of 72 games followed by a minimum to zero fan attendance in the NBA Arenas due to the pandemic, the 2020-21 NBA season has been nothing short of a roller-coaster ride.
The bottle-neck schedule and the strict protocols of COVID-19 have resulted in many players being injured, missing games and even matches being postponed.
There have been injury reports coming in almost every day with some players even suffering season-ending injuries. The franchises, as well as the NBA, have suffered heavy losses, with top players missing several games.
Top 5 injured players looking to make a strong resurgence in the upcoming 2021-22 NBA season
5. Markelle Fultz
Career stat line: 10.9 PPG, 3.3 RPG, and 4.6 APG
The 1st pick in the 2017 NBA Draft, Markelle Fultz has had one of the most tragic and unfortunate journeys so far, with injuries constantly hounding him on several occasions.
Not very long after he made his debut as a 76er, Markelle suffered a shoulder injury termed as a scapular muscle imbalance that impacted his shooting in a huge way. In his two seasons with the 76ers, he only played 33 games and averaged a dismal 7.7 PPG.
On 7th February 2019, Markelle was traded to the Orlando Magic, which marked the beginning of a new journey for him in the NBA.
Though long-range has never been his strength, his ability to finish at the rim, dish out eye-popping assists, and athleticism has certainly silenced his critics who termed him a bust.
His FT% has improved significantly for which he was heavily criticized especially during the clutch moments. In his 2 seasons with the Magic, he has averaged a FT% of 74.7, which is great considering he averaged a dismal FT% of 53.4 in Philadelphia. He has also averaged 1.2 steals per game with the Magic so far.
However, in January 2021, Markelle suffered a torn ACL while playing against the Cleveland Cavaliers, which resulted in him missing the remainder of the season, thus continuing his injury woes.
4. Spencer Dinwiddie
Career stat line: 12.9 PPG, 2.8 RPG, and 5.0 APG
The Point-Guard for the Brooklyn Nets, Spencer Dinwiddie, has been coming off the bench lately. A defender with extraordinary play-making skills, Dinwiddie really adds depth to the already stacked roaster for the Brooklyn Nets.
In his 5 seasons with the Nets, Dinwiddie had a career-high 41 points against the San Antonio Spurs in 2019 and has had twelve games with 30+ points with the Nets so far.
Only a few matches into the 2020-21 NBA season, Dinwiddie had to exit the game against the Charlotte Hornets after a right knee strain, which was later revealed to be a partial ACL tear that ended his season after playing just three games. This was clearly sad news for the Nets, who are considered one of the favorites to win the title this year.
3. TJ Warren
Career stat line: 15.5 PPG, 4.1 RPG, and 1.2 APG
The 14th pick in the 2014 NBA Draft, TJ Warren was selected by the Phoenix Suns. In his 5 seasons with the Suns, he averaged 14.4 PPG on FG% of 49.7.
In 2019 he was traded to the Indiana Pacers. Since then, TJ has had nine 30+ points games with the Pacers. In his 2 seasons with the team, he has had an FG% of 53.5, 3P% of 39.1 and averaged 1.1 steals per game so far.
The 2020 NBA bubble in Orlando really brought TJ into the limelight when he scored a career-high 53-points with 20-of-29 shooting, which included a 9-of-12 from the 3-point line, and TJ was also named in the All-NBA Bubbles first team.
On 31st December 2020, the Pacers announced that TJ would be going through surgery to repair a small left navicular stress fracture, thus ending his season after playing a mere 4 games.
2. Jamal Murray
Career stat line: 16.3 PPG, 3.6 RPG, and 3.8 APG
Jamal Murray's performance in last year's 2020 Orlando Bubble was nothing short of a spectacular show. The 24-year old averaged 26.5 PPG, 4.8 RPG, and 6.6 APG on an FG% of 50.5 and a 3P% of 45.3 in the playoffs.
Murray caused a huge upset when the Denver Nuggets beat the LA Clippers, who were considered top contenders in the west after being down 3-1. They also became the first team in NBA history to return from a multiple 3-1 deficit in a single postseason.
The Nuggets have been on a roll this season, with Nikola Jokić being considered top contender for league MVP and the team winning most of their matches. But in April this year, Murray suffered a torn ACL and was declared out indefinitely, lowering the team's odds of winning the chip this year.
1. Klay Thompson
Career stat line: 19.5 PPG, 3.5 RPG, and 2.3 APG
One of the best shooters to ever play the game, Klay has suffered back-to-back season-ending injuries.
In Game 5 of the 2019 NBA Finals, Klay tore his ACL and missed the entire 2019-20 NBA season. Soon after spending a year recovering and in rehab, Klay returned to practice and in a pick-up game in Los Angeles, tore his Achilles just before the start of the 2020-21 season that resulted in him missing back-to-back seasons.
Klay's absence on the court can really be felt as the Golden State Warriors are even struggling to even make it to the play-in tournament. The 3-time NBA champion has clearly been missed, as we all know what a show he can put up, whether it was 37-points in one quarter against the Sacramento Kings or 60-points on 11 dribbles in 29 minutes against the Indiana Pacers.