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Benched: 5 of the Worst Sports Injuries the NBA Has Ever Seen

Posted on February 16, 2014 by Dixie Somers
After colliding with Gilbert Arenas, Marquis Daniels was motionless on the court for several minutes.

After colliding with Gilbert Arenas, Marquis Daniels was motionless on the court for several minutes.

People don’t often think of basketball when they think of gruesome injuries. The reality is that basketball is a dangerous sport, and the NBA has seen it’s share of blood and gore over the years. With huge men running at full speed and jumping to grab the ball, there is plenty that can go wrong. Take a look at five of the worst injuries the National Basketball Association (NBA) has ever seen.

Joel Pryzbilla‘s Knee
On December 22nd, 2009, Joel Pryzbilla of the Portland Trailblazers suffered one of the worst knee injuries in the history of the NBA. Pryzbilla was playing center against the Dallas Mavericks. Pryzbilla was attempting to jump up to grab an offensive rebound when he landed awkwardly on his right leg. The result was a ruptured and dislocated patella that caused Pryzbilla to miss substantial time away from the court. Pryzbilla missed the remainder of that season after surgery, and his career was never really the same after that.

Rudy Tomjanovich‘s Face
Rudy Tomjanovich suffered one of the most incredible and gruesome facial injuries in NBA history on December 9th, 1977. Tomjanovich was a forward, and he was playing against Kermit Washington’s Los Angeles Lakers. There was a scuffle on the court. Washington unloaded a vicious punch on Tomjanovich that broke his jaw and actually caused life-threatening head injuries. He was sidelined for five months, but he eventually did make a full recovery.

After being punched by Kermit Washington, Rudy Tomjanovich wore a mask when he returned to the NFL.

After being punched by Kermit Washington, Rudy Tomjanovich wore a mask when he returned to the NFL.

The Scare of Marquis Daniels
Marquis Daniels provided one of the most frightening moments the NBA has ever witnessed. On February 6th, 2011, Daniels, a guard and forward for the Boston Celtics, collapsed to the court after colliding with Washington Wizards guard Gilbert Arenas. Daniels did not move for several minutes. He actually suffered a bruised spinal cord. Once he reached the hospital, he was able to move his limbs again. This was a sign of relief for the people in attendance that saw what happened.

Jamaal Crawford‘s Neck
On November 13th, 2003, Jamaal Crawford sustained a sprained neck, but it could have been so much worse. Crawford was playing for the Chicago Bulls that night against the Minnesota Timberwolves. He jumped to block a shot, but the Timberwolves player faked. Crawford went flying over top of him and landed awkwardly on his neck on the court surface. Crawford somehow only missed two games with the sprained neck, and he made a full recovery.

Glen Davis‘ Concussion
On May 27th, 2010, Glen Davis got elbowed in the face by Dwight Howard of the Orlando Magic. Davis was unable to gain his composure after the hit. He suffered a serious concussion and had to be helped off the court by officials and teammates. He only missed two games and returned, but it was scary to see him wobbling to his feet after the initial hit by Howard, even though the elbow was accidental.

As you can see, the NBA players are not immune to terrible injuries, and chances are that there is not a single NBA player who hasn’t experienced a sports injury of some kind while playing the game. But hey, the rowdy, competitive spirit of basketball is for many the whole reason to watch the game. When people are playing with such intensity and passion, someone is bound to get hurt—this aspect of the game is unavoidable. Information for this article was provided by the Accident and Sports Injury Clinic in Roseville CA, who help athletes who have lower back pain and headaches due to sports injuries.


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