These are the injuries that have happened since the start of training camp last Tuesday (September 28). Along with who was hurt, I’ve included what the injury was, projected timetable for return, and its significance to the team.
Jonas Jerebko, F, Detroit Pistons
The feisty and all-around skilled second-year big man came on strong at the end of last year, his rookie season, so much so he came out of nowhere to earn All-Rookie 2nd Team honors. Jerebko was already penciled in as the starting PF over the more veteran and highly paid duo of Jason Maxiell and Charlie Villanueva to begin the season before he tore his Achilles in the Pistons’ first preseason game. It’s expected to keep him out 5 to 6 months, which is highly significant considering a) he’s young and Detroit wants to develop him, b) he’s a starter, and c) they’re bad and need all the help they can get right now.
Terrico White, SG, Detroit Pistons
In addition to getting spanked in their first preseason game against the Miami Heat (who won 105-89 despite D-Wade only playing for 3 minutes) and losing Jerebko until March, Pistons’ rookie SG Terrico White broke his foot in Tuesday’s contest as well. He’s getting surgery on Friday, and a timetable for recovery will be determined at that time, although it will likely delay his entrance into the league for a month or two. This injury is rather insignificant considering he’s somewhere on the depth chart behind many many guys who have been starters for a long time (Hamilton, Gordon, Stuckey, Prince, McGrady). Where the injury really matters to fans is that it makes it much less likely that White will end up participating in February’s dunk contest, in which he’d certainly be a favorite.
TJ Ford, PG, Indiana Pacers
Ford suffered a hamstring injury a few days ago and should be out for at least a week. The Pacers’ back-up PG was a very small part of their plans, making this injury insignificant, for a few reasons. First, they just picked up Darren Collison, who is clearly the #1 ball handler. Second, they tried to buy Ford’s contract out a month ago, so they obviously don’t want him. Third, missing a week for a veteran isn’t a big deal, especially when the team didn’t want to play him very much anyway.
Dwyane Wade, SG, Miami Heat
The Heat’s Big Three played together for 197 seconds on Tuesday before Wade came up gimpy while chasing Richard Hamilton around a screen. It turned out he strained his hamstring and will be sitting around two weeks. Wade’s injury is highly significant because the new cluster of superstars and role players down in Miami desperately need time to gel and learn to play together, especially LeBron and Wade. Now he’ll be rejoining his teammates right before the regular season starts, and they face Boston and Orlando within the first four days of the season.
Jermaine O’Neal, C, Boston Celtics
O’Neal has a sore left hamstring, which should require him to sit for at least a week. With regularly starting C Kendrick Perkins out for a while due to knee surgery, O’Neal and Shaquille O’Neal were brought in to provide depth, know-how, and insurance inside the paint. It’s only a week or so, so the injury isn’t very significant since Shaq will fill in just fine for the next couple preseason games, and Jermaine is a veteran who won’t be missing much. It probably would have helped from a chemistry standpoint to have the new Celtic in there, but he’s a vet who won’t request or get the ball much on offense so he’s not really falling behind.
Carlos Boozer, PF, Chicago Bulls
Boozer already had a reputation for being injured more than a big, strong dude should be, and breaking his hand by tripping over a bag in his house and falling doesn’t help any. He’ll be out around eight weeks, which is rather significant considering he was Chicago’s big offseason get after striking out on hometown fave Dwyane Wade, plus the Bulls need every win they can get in order to earn one of the coveted top-four spots in the East so they can have home court advantage for a playoff series without having to face Miami, Boston, or Orlando until the second round. Taj Gibson was the starter last year and now is again, but being able to rotate him with Boozer at the PF spot would have been extremely helpful to C Joakim Noah and to the team as a whole.
Tiago Splitter, C, San Antonio Spurs
Splitter was just brought over from the Spanish league, where he was somehow even more successful than Rudy Fernandez or Ricky Rubio ever were, and they were both heavily hyped before showing up in the NBA fans’ consciousness. Splitter strained his right plantaris muscle (calf) almost a week ago, and was expected to miss 7 to 10 days of work. Splitter is the team’s starting center and has looked great in every action anyone’s seen of him recently, so this is kind of significant but “not devastating,” but he’s hopefully back out on the court at full strength now or very soon. Considering he’s played professionally for a while, this is far less important than if it had happened to a true rookie.