Thank God It's Friday: Injuries the Story for Storied Franchises
by Ricky Dimon - 2/15/2013
The Boston Celtics just cannot catch a break this season. Their roster, however, is breaking down at an alarming rate. First it was Rajon Rondo. Then it was Jared Sullinger. Then, for the third time in three weeks, they lost another player for the season when veteran Leandro Barbosa joined Rondo in the ranks of the torn ACL on Monday.
Speaking of torn ACLs, Kentucky Wildcats’ big man Nerlens Noel is also done for the year. Once — and perhaps still — the projected No. 1 overall pick in the 2013 NBA Draft, Noel suffered the crushing blow on Tuesday. Were Kentucky’s NCAA Tournament hopes crushed with it?
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Some get an all-star break at just the right time this weekend. Others, however, will have to persevere through myriad problems (all odds provided by Sportsbook.ag).
John Calipari. Calipari had that Bataan Death March look on his face in the post-game press conference, and why not? No real matter that his team lost a tough road game at Florida, but the Wildcats also lost Noel for the season and likely for the rest of his college career. What a difference a year makes — even in the world of college basketball in which powerhouse programs often reload and reload some more, never skipping a beat. This time around, however, Kentucky is dangerously close to the NCAA bubble (although inside it right now) 10 months after winning the National Championship. Calipari’s squad is 17-7 (8-3 SEC) and +5000 to defend its title.
Michigan. The Wolverines were one missed half-court shot away from being the best team in the nation, according to the rankings, on Monday. Now, suddenly, they are two whole games away from just being tied with the best teams in their own conference. Ben Brust’s miracle heave helped Wisconsin stun Michigan last Saturday, and the Wolverines could not recover on Tuesday at Michigan State where the Spartans cruised, 72-52. John Beilein’s team is now 8-4 in the Big Ten, just behind 8-3 Wisconsin and further back from Indiana and Michigan State — both of which are 10-2. Michigan is still a +450 favorite to win the National Championship.
Golden State Warriors. Golden State—yes, Golden State—was the story of the NBA’s first half…until its last five contests. After 47 games (and a 30-17 record), it looked like the all-star break would be a momentum-killer for the Warriors. Now, on the other hand, it’s a life-saver. Mark Jackson’s upstart club has suddenly lost five in a row. Adding insult to injury is that the streak is bookended by losses to Houston, which drained 23 three-pointers in the previous meeting before a barrage of fouls by Golden State prevented the Rockets from breaking the single-game record for treys. Following Wednesday’s 116-107 home loss, the Warriors are 30-22 and six games back of the Clippers in the Pacific Division. Steph Curry and company are +2500 to win the Western Conference.
Hedo Turkoglu. Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: I should have read the label. I didn’t know what was in it. Yes, it’s my fault but my sketchy doctor told me it was OK so it was just a misunderstanding. Just a mistake. I’m 33 years old and not any good at basketball anymore but I was not trying to enhance my performance. Blah, blah, blah, blah blah. Turkoglu tested positive for methenolone, an anabolic steroid, and started serving a 20-game suspension on Wednesday night when the Magic lost by 32 points at home against Atlanta. This is just another headache for Orlando, which is 15-37 (second worst team in the NBA) and has dropped 13 of its last 14 games. The team is a laughable +850000 to win the NBA Championship.
Boston Celtics. What a wild ride it has already been for the 2012-13 Boston Celtics. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Boston is the first team in NBA history to win six games in a row, lose six games in a row, and then win another six games in a row — yes, all in succession. That 18-game stretch took place from Jan. 4 through Feb. 10 and finally ended this week when the Celtics went loss-win against Charlotte and Chicago, respectively. Boston is still just five game back of New York in the Atlantic Division and well inside the playoff cut line, but the injuries are piling up. Doc Rivers’ club is +1800 to win the Eastern Conference.
New York Mets. The Mets went from perennially terrible to mediocre last season, but now National League Cy Young winner R.A. Dickey is playing in Toronto. They may not be as good on the mound this year even with a healthy Johan Santana, and they certainly aren’t expected to be good in the outfield. New York missed out on Michael Bourn, who signed with Cleveland on Monday. As such, the Mets’ OF trio remains Lukas Duda, Mike Baxter, and either Collin Cowgill or Kirk Nieuwenhuis. Rough. The Mets are +2500 to win the NL East.
Erik Karlsson. Karlsson may not be a household name out of hardcore hockey circles, but to say his injury is a tough one for the Ottawa Senators would be an understatement. He won the Norris Trophy last year as the NHL’s top defenseman, but his season ended on Wednesday when his Achilles’ was sliced by the skate of Pittsburgh’s Matt Cooke. Karlsson was—and still is—leading the league among defensemen with six goals. Ottawa must be feeling the blues, and Cooke will be feeling them when he has to visit what will be a hostile Ottawa environment on April 22. The Sens are +2000 to win the Eastern Conference.
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