As good as any NBA star is, they aren’t immune to injuries. Given that basketball is a physical sport, injuries are a part of the game. Unfortunately, injuries, especially serious ones, can have a serious affect on a player’s career. In fact, more often than not, some teams would rather cut their losses by trading away their injured stars. However, there are cases when a team decides to patiently wait for their NBA star to fully recover. For this piece, let’s take a look at 10 NBA players who teams fortunately didn’t trade after a serious injury.
During the 2019 NBA Finals, Klay Thompson suffered a torn ACL. After missing the rest of the Finals series and the following season, Thompson suffered a torn Achilles tendon. After suffering a nasty string of injuries, his NBA career hung in the balance. Fortunately, the Warriors kept their faith in one half of the Splash Brothers. Klay Thompson would play an instrumental role in helping the Warriors secure the 2022 NBA championship. He averaged 17.0 points per game while shooting 35 percent from behind the arc.
After helping the Nuggets make a Western Conference Finals appearance, Jamal Murray’s NBA journey took a bump after he suffered a torn ACL during the regular season. But despite fears of getting traded, Coach Mike Malone assured the Canadian standout that they were willing to wait for his full recovery. Fortunately, Murray came back better than ever. He averaged 27.7 points, 6.1 assists, and 5.5 rebounds per outing in the 2023 playoffs to help the Nuggets clinch their first Finals appearance in history.
As good of a shooter Stephen Curry is, he wasn’t immune to injury. Curry suffered a broken hand in the early parts of the 2019-20 season. This forced him to miss four months of NBA basketball. Although the Warriors still finished 15-50 that year, Curry reminded everyone why he was the best shooter in the world by leading the Warriors to the NBA title in 2022. In the process, he also captured his first Finals MVP.
Michael Jordan makes a strong argument that he is the GOAT of basketball. However, people often forget that his path to greatness wasn’t all that smooth. Early into his sophomore season, Jordan suffered a broken foot against the Warriors. Although Jordan suffered a major injury, we all know how he proved that he wasn’t damaged goods. He set the single-game playoff record of 63 points before leading the Bulls to a pair of three-peats.
A standout from Argentina, Manu Ginobili was a critical piece of the Spurs dynasty. However, it’s safe to say that Ginobili wasn’t the most durable of players. In an injury-riddled career, one season saw him miss 43 games during the 2008-09 season after suffering an ankle injury. But despite being hampered by injuries, he has proven to the Spurs organization how important he is to the rotation. In fact, Ginobili helped the Spurs win four NBA titles.
As the 10th overall pick of the 2005 NBA Draft, Andrew Bynum was a promising big man for the Lakers. However, injuries started to hound the 7-foot center, including a dislocated knee cap during the 2007-08 season. Nevertheless, the Lakers kept their faith in the big man, as he helped anchor the paint en route to back-to-back NBA championships. Although Bynum’s latter Lakers campaigns were forgettable, no one can take away his importance during the Lakers’ championship runs.
Dirk Nowitzki pieced together a solid career that saw him become the best stretch forward in the NBA. But while Nowitzki has become a Hall of Famer who finished his entire career in Dallas, the Mavs did think about trading the German star for someone like Shaquille O’Neal after the former suffered a sprained knee that led to another playoff exit. However, owner Mark Cuban and the Mavs remained positive about Nowitzki. In 2010, Nowitzki led them to an NBA championship to exact revenge over the Miami Heat.
Kobe Bryant played an instrumental role in the Lakers’ three-peat before leading Los Angeles to another pair of championships. Unfortunately, he suffered a torn Achilles tendon that ultimately threatened his career. But despite no longer being able to lead the team to wins, the Lakers kept the five-time NBA champion and allowed him to conclude his legendary career in Los Angeles, something fans wished for. In fact, he dropped 60 points during his final game.
Despite being one of the most anticipated college prospects, NBA fans had to wait one more year after Blake Griffin suffered a knee injury during the preseason. Fortunately, the wait was worth it. Griffin would go on to win Rookie of the Year and break several Clippers’ records. He also helped the Clippers become a legitimate playoff contender.
Like Griffin, Joel Embiid also missed his rookie season. However, NBA fans had to wait two seasons before the Sixers’ lottery pick could showcase his wares in the NBA after suffering a stress fracture in his foot. But despite the wait, Embiid proved that he was the next face of the Sixers franchise. He would go on to take MVP honors in the 2022-23 season after averaging 33.1 points, 10.2 rebounds, and 4.1 assists per game.
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