3 Top NBA Players Who Have Returned From Major Knee Injuries
Every once in a while here on the blog we like to feature some of our top athletes who have recovered from major knee injuries and gone on to achieve high levels of success. This time we're shining the spotlight on the sport of basketball. That means NBA, people! The National Basketball Association is one of our highest profile leagues, enjoying a massive following both stateside and overseas.
Nowhere to hide!
Every night in the NBA, some of the top athletes in the world put their skills on display. Let’s just say that when you play professional basketball, there ain’t nowhere to hide - you had better bring you “A Game” every night!
If you aren’t at peak performance, you’ll be exposed by somebody who is. And since there is such a high level of competition, a major injury such as an ACL tear can really slow players down.
Let’s took at some of the current NBA players who are performing at a high level after suffering knee injuries.
Blake Griffin - Knee Injury
Coming into the league as a rookie out of the University of Oklahoma, Blake was already known for his explosive leaping ability and athleticism. NBA scouts were foaming at the mouth at the prospect of adding the high-flying forward to their team, and the Los Angeles Clippers were the fortunate franchise who lucked into a chance to select him with the first pick in the draft.
Unfortunately, Blake suffered a broken kneecap while coming down from a dunk during preseason of his rookie season. (Spoiler alert: the “rookie year injury” is a bit of a theme in this particular article).
Blake's initial injury led to increased pain and swelling and was eventually diagnosed as a stress fracture, and he missed his entire rookie year while recovering from the resulting surgery.
Despite being a year in the making, Blake’s eventual rookie season did not disappoint, and he’s become a perennial all-star while powering the Los Angeles Clippers from laughingstock to playoff stalwart.
UPDATE: Blake recently had arthroscopic surgery to deal with swelling in his knee. He’s expected to be out for 3-6 weeks, giving him plenty of time to return for the stretch run of the 2016-2017 season.
Jabari Parker - Knee Injury
One of the great feel-good stories of this NBA season is the Milwaukee Bucks. Led by young hyper-talented upstarts Giannis Antetokounmpo and Jabari Parker, the Bucks are one of the most exciting teams in the league.
For Parker, the second pick of the 2014 draft out of Duke University, things didn't exactly start out with a bang, at least not in the way he would have liked. Early in the season, he suffered an ACL Tear which caused him to miss his entire rookie season.
The good thing is, Parker's development seems to be going as planned as he adjusts the the speed, power, and everyday grind of the NBA. We wouldn't be surprised to see Jabari on the All-Star Team in the next few years as he spearheads the Bucks offense with Giannis, providing the exciting Batman-and-Robin-type duo that Milwaukee has been starving for.
Steph Curry - Knee Injury
The Golden State Warriors were humming along on their championship defense, setting records left and right, when this happened:
The sports-watching world (and the Warriors team) looked on in horror as Steph slipped on a wet patch and tweaked his left knee. Immediately leaving the game, Curry was diagnosed with a grade 1 sprain of the medial collateral ligament. Warriors fans (and most casual fans of the sport) breathed a collective sigh of relief.
Steph returned a couple of weeks later and led the charge as the Warriors looked poised to repeat as champions. Unfortunately for them, they ran into the juggernaut that is Lebron James and lost the championship to the Cavaliers.
Although Steph was his usual spectacular self during the playoffs as a whole, some (including us!) speculated that the injury slowed him (and thus the Warriors) down.
Either way, he's back tearing up the court this season and in the running for yet another MVP Award.
Did we forget your favorite player? Leave a comment below!