Progress Reports on Injured Stars

By Jonathan Hartzell, NBA.com

The NBA offseason is a time for most players to relax and mentally prepare for the upcoming season. But for those recovering from injury, it’s all work as they try to get back into the game.

Here are 10 key players rehabbing this summer, with best guesses on when they are expected to return.

Kobe Bryant, Los Angeles Lakers

Injury: Ruptured Achilles tendon (April 13, 2013)

Progress: Bryant’s 2012-13 season came to a sudden end when he ruptured his Achilles tendon in the Lakers’ stretch-run toward the playoffs. The initial diagnosis for his injury was 6-9 months, but recent reports have suggested the star could be back by the start of the 2013-14 season. This would be the best of news for the Lakers, who will struggle to win without Bryant.

ETA: It’s not hard to imagine Bryant being ready by the start of the season. But it’s downright easy to imagine this injury staying with him all season.

Derrick Rose, Chicago Bulls

Injury: Torn ACL in left knee (April 28, 2012)

Progress: If you go by some of what you see on Twitter, then Derrick Rose was ready to return two months ago during the Chicago Bulls’ series against the Miami Heat, but he chose not to because he’s not “competitive enough.” Thankfully, the saga surrounding Rose ended when the Bulls were eliminated in five games and Rose was allowed to have the entire summer to continue his rehab. A video surfaced earlier in the week of Rose dunking on an eight-foot hoop. It seems likely the former-MVP will be ready by the start of training camp.

ETA: Reports signal Rose is comfortable on the court again and has regained his muscle memory, so expect him back for the entire 2013-14 season.

Russell Westbrook, Oklahoma City Thunder

Injury: Lateral meniscus tear in right knee (April 24, 2013)

Progress: Westbrook underwent surgery on his right knee in late May after he tore his lateral meniscus during the first round playoff series against the Houston Rockets. The recovery time initially called for Westbrook to be back for the beginning of the 2013-14 season. Based on the amount of recent videos of Westbrook dancing, it would appear he will be ready.

ETA: It would take an unlikely setback for Westbrook not to be ready by training camp. But don’t be surprised if this injury inititally diminishes Westbrook’s level of play.

Rajon Rondo, Boston Celtics

Injury: Torn ACL in right knee (January 25, 2013)

Progress: Rondo’s knee injury in late-January knocked him out for the rest of the 2012-13 season and proved to be the last time he would play with future Hall-of-Famers Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett and be coached by Doc Rivers. Rondo is reportedly right on schedule for his recovery, but the team he is preparing to return to is moving in a completely new direction. It will be interesting to see how Rondo handles his new leading role on the team and if he can get along with new head coach Brad Stevens.

ETA: All signs point to Rondo being ready for the start of the season.

Kevin Love, Minnesota Timberwolves

Injury: Surgery to remove scar tissue in left knee (April 8, 2013)

Progress: Kevin Love missed the beginning of the 2012-13 season with a broken hand sustained by doing knuckle push-ups. After he returned from that injury he played 18 games before he broke the same hand again. Before he could return for a third time, he became bothered by left knee pain and chose to have season-ending surgery to remove scar tissue in his knee. The normal recovery time for this surgery is 4-6 weeks, so Love should be right on schedule to return for training camp.

ETA: Love will most likely be ready for the start of the 2013-14 season … unless he decided to do more knuckle push-ups.

Andrew Bynum, Cleveland Cavaliers

Injury: Knee complications beginning in 2010

Progress: Andrew Bynum underwent his first knee surgery on July 28, 2010 with the Los Angeles Lakers. Last year, knee troubles caused the  center to miss the entire season after he was acquired by the Philadelphia 76ers in a summer blockbuster trade. The washout of a season was initially due to a setback Bynum suffered while bowling. Now a part of the Cleveland Cavaliers, Bynum says he will be ready by training camp. But it’s important to remember he said those same words last season, too.

ETA: Few will believe the big man is back until they see the big man back, but it seems likely he will be healthy for the start of the season.

Danilo Gallinari, Denver Nuggets

Injury: Torn ACL in left knee (April 4, 2013)

Progress: Similar to Rondo, the team that Gallinari is set to return to is a lot different than the one he left. Gone are Andre Iguodala, head coach George Karl and general manager Masai Ujiri. But new head coach Brian Shaw should help to inspire the team and a healthy Gallinari would certainly help. The initial timetable for his return was the middle of next season, but recent reports suggest he may be back sooner than that after the surgery was simpler than expected.

ETA: The best-case scenario for his return seems to be December.

Anderson Varejao, Cleveland Cavaliers

Injury: Blood clot developed in left lung following surgery (January 10, 2013)

Progress: Varejao was having his best NBA season when it was unexpectedly cut short after doctors discovered a blood clot developing in his left lung. This potentially fatal condition was quickly treated by surgery, but it caused Varejao to miss the remainder of the season. Varejao should be fully prepared to return by the start of training camp.

ETA: It would be a surprise if Varejao isn’t ready to step into the front line of the improving Cavs by the start of the season.

Danny Granger, Indiana Pacers

Injury: Patellar tendinosis in left knee since the 2012 offseason

Progress: Granger attempted to return midseason last year but was able to play in only five games before he had to undergo another surgery. His absence allowed All-Star Paul George to emerge as the go-to star for the Pacers, who reached Game 7 of the Eastern Conference finals before falling to the Heat. Still, Granger’s offensive firepower would be a welcome addition off the bench.

ETA: While recent reports suggest that the former All-Star should be ready by training camp, lingering knee injuries are nearly impossible to predict.

Greg Oden

Injury: Lingering knee injuries since 2007

Progress: Speaking of lingering knee injuries, here’s Greg Oden! The first overall pick of the 2007 NBA Draft is reportedly ready for a comeback after being out of the league for the entire 2012-13 season. He’s receiving heavy interest from several NBA teams. There’s no way to predict what Oden has left in his knees, but if he can stay relatively healthy for the majority of next season then his extreme size and skill will be a huge benefit.

ETA: There have been limited reports on Oden’s recovery progress, but the amount of interest he’s received from teams must signal that the big man is on track to return for most of next season.

44 Comments

  1. Bernad shaw says:

    What about ricky rubio?

  2. GetWabbz says:

    A glaring omission from this list is Lou Williams

  3. mortimer says:

    Kobe especially is healing too fast … this is very suspect : big doping program to get him back on his legs ???

    • Dwayne says:

      Kobe is known to have ridiculously good german doctors working on him. Not to say he isnt doping but he has done this his whole career.

  4. […] Progress Reports on Injured Stars ” Hang Time Blog | NBA.com […]

  5. Brandon says:

    This past season has had the most star player injuries ._.
    I would’ve loved for a completely healthy Nuggets, Lakers, and OKC in the west and a healthy Celtics and Bulls team in the east.
    This past season the only truly exciting things to watch in the playoffs was the Finals and the Eastern Conference Finals.

  6. bayarea says:

    what about ginobili hes always injured

  7. Sillmarillion says:

    And what about Gortat?

  8. HoopNHarm says:

    Derrick Rose did the right thing..no point in coming back all of a sudden after sitting out of the whole reg season only to come back into the playoffs and play against LeBron and the rest of Miami where they would of lost. That decision will work out better in the long run.

  9. J says:

    what about lou Williams?
    great article!!!
    its good to find out bout this sort of thing, somebody should do this every month in the season, this and a transaction report

  10. Kimmy says:

    Russell Westbrook needs to hurry up and get better. The Thunder really need him. Go OKC!

    • Sit Down says:

      as long as he comes back while only missing 1/4 of the season, they should easily get top 3 spots in the west.

  11. Franz says:

    All these injuries seem to come as a result of a heavy workload. Seems like Pop’s strategic resting of star players has paid off, albeit at a price of $250K

  12. martinishots says:

    sports makes us all come together as one

  13. Nick says:

    Any news on Channing Frye?

  14. Russell says:

    People who lost respect for Derrick Rose are ignorant and selfish. He was smart to put his career ahead of anything, who says that he comes back and they even stand a chance against a powerhouse Miami team that has tremendous chemistry. Why cut his career short by continuously forcing an unprepared body to compete at the highest level. He did what Grant Hill wish he did when he was younger, wait until he was fully healthy to come back.

    • jOLAN says:

      I agree with you, at first I thought bad of him not coming back, but he probably would of hurt his team. If he comes back as good as before, you will see more players sitting out longer after an injury like this. its all mental at this point for him, and that is hard to get back after an injury like that.

  15. lakers says:

    what happen michael redd?

  16. Roy says:

    Lost so much respect for Derrick Rose. He proved he did not deserve that MVP. Who is healthy and chooses to bail out on their team for the whole playoffs. Not a franchise player.

    • justhoop says:

      have you been freakishly athletic, put a team on your back since the rookie season, have a torn acl in the playoffs and be a franchise player for the city you grew up in and come back just like that?? if not then shut up

  17. Heather Angel says:

    Lakers should put their championship core back together.
    Farmar is back. Fisher and Odom are still on the market.
    Same with Luke Walton and Vladimir Ramanovich.
    Sasha Pavlovic has been released by Portland. And DJ Mbenga is still somewhere in the D League.
    Add Gasol and Nash, and you have a championship team.

  18. Michael Stoll says:

    What team’s are interested in Greg Oden?

    • TheAll-Star136 says:

      Heat, Spurs, Mavericks, Pelicans, and Kings.
      Heat and Spurs are the top 2 choices.
      If I were him, I would sign with the Heat.

      • Wes is stupid says:

        duh

      • KOBERONDODURANTWESTBROOKLINDIRK says:

        He might not since he hasn’t been paid very much because of his playing time

      • nba fan says:

        Heat is a stupid choice. They will probably be willing to put him in the starting line-up cause they lack a real big and that’s the perfect way for Oden to screw his knees up once more. He should go to Spurs as they will likely give him a reasonable amount of playing time while not putting him at risk. Other than that Suns seem to be the perfect choice the way they kept Nash and Hill in the league

      • sick says:

        no stupid team would put oden in the starting line-up…

  19. Baller says:

    kobe rose bynum westbrook granger

  20. Demba go 2 guy says:

    The NBA should think about creating a team where only the injured players will play (of course after their rehab). Imagine these 10 players on the floor playing in the same team.please REPLY by writing ya favorite starting 5 of this team.

    • Pat says:

      PG – Rondo/Westbrook
      SG – Rose
      SF – Bryant/Gallo/Granger
      PF – Love/Varejao
      C – Bynum/Oden

      PG and SG spot is where rondo,wbrook, and rose can share
      SG and SF where kobe and gallo and granger can play as well
      championship team if all healthy

      • Sit Down says:

        I don’t see Westbrook, Kobe, and Rondo doing well with sharing. Rondo is a true PG, he needs the ball in his hand. Kobe is Kobe, not much else to say. Westbrook settled down a bit but still requires a lot of touches per game. Too much ego from those 3, it’ll take a while or never to build a working chemistry from those 3.

  21. jayrulez says:

    Dwyane Wade?

    • Bball Fan IMon says:

      D wades injury is not as severe as these players if they were then he would not be playing. He stil contributed. He has not torn anything nor had season ending surgery. They will be tested when all of these players are back

  22. Chris jones says:

    What about david lee?