Tracking the key injuries in the NBA playoffs

1:06 AM ET

Law Murray

This NBA season has been marked by several notable, critical injuries. Here’s a look at the most important ones to watch for each team in the postseason.

East

Toronto Raptors: DeMar DeRozan

Timetable: None; he missed a win at Orlando on March 20 with a left thigh contusion but has played in nine of the team’s past 10 games.

Seriousness:Very low

Situation: DeRozan is listed here only because he’s the latest player to miss a game because of injury. Toronto is the healthiest team in the league that will appear in the postseason.

Boston Celtics: Kyrie Irving (and Gordon Hayward, Marcus Smart, Daniel Theis)

Timetable: Irving will the playoffs in the aftermath of left knee surgery. Hayward is unlikely to return this season from a left ankle injury. Smart needs six to eight weeks (from March 16) for right thumb surgery. Theis is out for the season following left knee surgery.

Seriousness: Very high

Kevin Pelton on Irving: The Celtics should still be favored to win their first-round matchup. Now all but locked into the second seed, Boston should be hoping for the Milwaukee Bucks to finish seventh among the three teams that have a chance to do so. Milwaukee has actually been outscored this season, despite a winning record, so the short-handed Celtics have been comfortably better without Irving before accounting for home-court advantage in the series.

Cleveland Cavaliers: George Hill (and Kyle Korver)

Timetable: Hill sprained his left ankle on March 30 and returned April 9 after missing four games. Korver had right foot soreness and last appeared in a game March 19 before returning on April 3.

Seriousness:Medium

Situation: The Cavaliers are inching toward being fully healthy (including coach Tyronn Lue, who returned April 5) for the first time since the trade deadline. Hill has started every game he has played as a Cavalier this season, while Korver started in his past three appearances before taking a bereavement leave. Korver returned in April to his more familiar bench role.

Philadelphia 76ers: Joel Embiid (and Dario Saric)

Timetable: Embiid had surgery to repair an orbital bone fracture on March 31 and could return in two weeks. Saric had cellulitis in his shooting elbow and missed three games due to the soreness of the infection. Saric returned to action on April 6.

Seriousness:High

Kevin Pelton on Embiid: The timing of Embiid’s injury is obviously difficult for him and the Sixers with their multiyear rebuilding process on the cusp of bearing playoff fruit.

Indiana Pacers: Trevor Booker

Timetable: Booker sprained his right ankle Tuesday and missed a win at Sacramento on March 29. He’s fine, as that wound up being the only game he missed.

Seriousness:Very low

Situation: Booker is Indiana’s second big man off the bench, behind starters Thaddeus Young and Myles Turner and top backup Domantas Sabonis. Any time that Booker misses is filled sparingly by first-round rookie T.J. Leaf.

Washington Wizards: John Wall

Timetable: Wall returned to action March 31 after missing more than two months because of a left knee injury.

Seriousness: Medium

Situation: Wall’s return decreases the seriousness of the situation. Wall was able to play 33 minutes in his first game back, while fill-in starter Tomas Satoransky‘s role in the rotation over Jodie Meeks is secure.

Miami Heat: Dion Waiters

Timetable: Waiters underwent season-ending ankle surgery on Jan. 23.

Seriousness:Low

Situation: The Heat are used to playing without Waiters and otherwise enter April at full strength. Tyler Johnson has established himself as the starting shooting guard, while Wayne Ellington and midseason trade acquisition Dwyane Wade are the backup guards.

Milwaukee Bucks: Malcolm Brogdon (and Thon Maker, Matthew Dellavedova)

Timetable: Brogdon returned on April 9 from his partially torn left quadriceps tendon after suffering the injury Feb. 1. Maker had a right groin strain and last played on March 25; he’s healthy now. Dellavedova has a right ankle sprain and last played on Feb. 4; he is out indefinitely.

Seriousness: Medium

Situation: Brogdon was injured the night before Jabari Parker made his season debut, and Dellavedova was injured in Parker’s second game. Brogdon is back, and he will be coming back to an uncertain role; he had been starting next to Eric Bledsoe at the time of his injury. Milwaukee has been starting Tony Snell at shooting guard while Jason Terry has been in the rotation. Brogdon was the first player off the bench when he returned to action. The injuries to Brogdon and Dellavedova were instrumental in Milwaukee’s signing 2009 first-round pick Brandon Jennings for the rest of the season. It appears that Maker has work to do to be the backup center over Tyler Zeller behind John Henson. Maker has been a DNP-CD since April 3.

The Celtics’ offense is missing Kyrie Irving’s playmaking. AP Photo/David ZalubowskiWest

Houston Rockets: Luc Mbah a Moute

Timetable: Likely to miss the first round, sources tell ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. Mbah a Moute left the Rockets second-to-last game of the season with a dislocated shoulder. He missed 15 games with a similar injury earlier this season. There’s no timetable for his return.

Seriousness: High

Situation: Mbah a Moute averaged nearly 26 minutes per night for Mike D’Antoni’s squad this season, even starting 15 games. He’s a key part of a Houston second unit that has smothered opponents, and his absence could leave the Rockets’ bench a little thin, even as rotations tighten in the postseason.

Golden State Warriors: Stephen Curry

Timetable: Three weeks (from March 24) for Curry’s left knee Grade 2 MCL sprain.

Seriousness: High

Kevin Pelton on Curry: Players have not shot as well from 3-point range after returning from a Grade 2 MCL sprain as expected. Curry was, in fact, less accurate on 3s in the 2016 playoffs, shooting 40.2 percent after returning compared to 45.4 percent during the regular season. But the larger issue for Curry was inside the arc; he shot 56.6 percent on 2s during the regular season and just 48.5 percent Read More…

Via:: NDTV – Sports

      

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