Injuries to key NBA players cause teams and fans to suffer during the playoffs

by Ryan Romaine
Over the years, professional basketball fans have seen some of the game’s most exciting players go down to severe injuries during post-season play. Since 1983, atleast nine key players were injured during or leading up to the playoffs, possibly preventing their team from going all the way, and calling into question the validity of the championship itself.

These injuries can also affect a fan’s desire to watch the playoffs.
“Usually when a key player is injured I most likely won’t watch the game, because I know that it is going to be somewhat boring,” said junior Alexis Venable. “I knew once Kobe Bryant got hurt [in April] that I wasn’t going to watch the Lakers play the Spurs, because I knew they were going to lose.”
Over the past two seasons, Derrick Rose, of the Chicago Bulls, and Russell Westbrook, of the Oklahoma City Thunder, both have suffered season-ending injuries during the playoffs.
Both teams were thought have the best chance to take down the Miami Heat, the championship favorites. Without Rose and Westbrook, however, the teams’ chances changed dramatically: the Bulls would fall to the Heat in the Eastern Conference Finals and the Thunder to the Memphis Grizzlies in the second round of this year’s playoffs.
“Without him, I felt they couldn’t produce,” said sophomore Kola Shomade regarding the Bulls without Rose. “Ultimately I thought my team could win a championship that year but lost hope when he went down.”
In the regular season with Rose healthy, the Bulls were able to obtain the league’s best record. The Bulls became the third number-one seed ever to lose in the first round of the playoffs, when they lost to the Philadelphia 76ers.
“These injuries affect the validity of the playoffs, due to the fact that everyone is not at full strength,” said Shomade. “Many teams must deal with tough injuries during the playoffs, giving other teams a better opportunity to win.”
The loss of a leading scorer has an obvious negative impact, but other players’ injuries can also change a team’s prospects.
In 2010, the starting center of the Boston Celtics, Kendrick Perkins, suffered an injury during the playoffs that would keep him out until the following season.
The Celtics depended mainly on stout defense, and in Perkins they lost a player who was above average in both defense and rebounding. The team ended up losing in the finals to the Los Angeles Lakers in game seven.
Injuries have always been a pivotal and inevitable part of sports. But injuries to key players can turn the championships into disappointments for the athletes, the teams and fans.
“The NBA playoffs are a time for champions, success, failure, limits pushed, injuries, great coaches and more,” said freshman Isaiah Thompson. “Games are just that less exciting without top players to be a part of them.” Going into this years finals, the Miami Heat and San Antonio Spurs have been fortunate to  avoid major injuries.
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