Injuries have destroyed many NBA careers. The case of Derrick Rose is just one. We can also add the likes of Anfernee Hardaway, Grant Hill, Brandon Roy, and Yao Ming among others.

At one point in their careers, these players suffered serious injuries that ended their seasons. Although they were able to return to action, their careers were never the same after getting hurt.

During the 2019-20 season, we saw several NBA stars miss the year with serious injuries. These players are expected to be back during the 2020-21 season and we can’t wait to see them back in action.

Let’s take a look at a list of injured NBA stars whom we are looking forward to seeing back in action next season:

Basketball Klay Thompson

The Golden State Warriors took a tumble from being the 2019 Western Conference champions to having the worst record in the NBA during the 2019-20 season. While you can point to Kevin Durant’s exit from the Bay Area as one of the reasons, don’t forget the Dubs played without sharpshooter Klay Thompson this season.

Thompson tore his ACL during Game 6 of the 2019 NBA Finals last June 13, 2019, and has not played since then. Despite the injury, Golden State rewarded him with a $190M max contract extension during the offseason. Last March, Warriors head coach Steve Kerr said that Thompson will be “ready to roll” when training camp for the 2020-21 season starts. That’s good news because while the Warriors no longer have KD, they will have a high lottery pick in this year’s draft. With Steph Curry healthy too, the Warriors are expected to return to the mix during the 2020-21 season.

Basketball Kevin Durant

Klay Thompson wasn’t the only player whom the Warriors lost to injury during the 2019 NBA Finals. It can be recalled that the Dubs also lost Kevin Durant to a ruptured Achilles in Game 5 of the Finals. KD had initially injured his right calf in the 2019 Western Conference semifinals, forcing him to sit out the entire 2019 Western Conference Finals.

After the season, Durant and Kyrie Irving signed deals to join the Brooklyn Nets. However, Durant missed the entire 2019-20 season to rehab his Achilles but is expected to return during the 2020-21 campaign. The Nets also played without Irving most of the way during the 2019-20 season but despite that, they were able to take 7th seed in the East when the season was suspended. With Durant back next season, the Nets will be a force to be reckoned with in the East.

Basketball Kyrie Irving

Kyrie Irving joined the Brooklyn Nets during the offseason after playing for the Boston Celtics. Irving had an auspicious debut for the Nets, scoring 50 in his first game for his team in a losing effort against the Minnesota Timberwolves. Irving would end up playing just a total of 20 games for the Nets this season and the team went 8-12 with him on the court.

Irving underwent season-ending shoulder surgery to end an injury-plagued season. Despite that, the Nets crawled back in the team standings and were 30-34 when the season was paused. Brooklyn still held 7th place in the East despite playing without Irving and Durant. With the two expected to return during the 2020-21 season, the Nets are expected to contend for the top spot in the East.

Basketball Jusuf Nurkic

Jusuf Nurkic was lagging on the Denver Nuggets bench then he was traded to the Portland Trail Blazers in 2017. Since then, he’s become a reliable double-double player for Portland. During the 2019 season, Nurkic had the time of his life. The seven-foot Bosnian averaged a career-high 15.6 points, 10.4 rebounds, and 3.2 assists per game last season before suffering a horrific leg injury last March 19, 2019.

Nurkic’s recovery went well and he was scheduled to return last March 15, 2020, but unfortunately, the season was suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic. The Blazers were 29-37 when the season was halted and were in 9th place in the Western Conference, 3.5 games behind the 8th seeded Memphis Grizzlies. Many rumors are surrounding the Blazers right now, including the possible breakup of their dynamic backcourt.

Basketball John Wall

John Wall played only 39 games during the 2018-19 season due to injury. Wall underwent season-ending surgery to remove bone spurs on his heel and to repair a chronic Achilles tendon injury last January 2019 but one month later, he accidentally fell in his home and ruptured his Achilles. With that, his timetable was moved farther and the Washington Wizards struggled.

Bradley Beal had a huge 2019-20 season but the Wizards faltered without Wall. Washington was 24-40 during the 2019-20 season, 5.5 games behind the 8th seeded Orlando Magic in the Eastern Conference. Last January, Wizards head coach Scott Brooks announced that Wall had started doing basketball activities with his team. With Wall back next season, the Wizards should pick up where they left off before Wall got hurt.

Basketball Blake Griffin

Blake Griffin had a renaissance last season, his first full year with Detroit. Griffin re-established himself as an All-Star in 2019, averaging a career-high 24.5 points per game while playing 75 games, his most since 2014. But just when we thought that Griffin got his game and health back, he struggled with injuries during the 2019-20 season.

A left knee injury limited him to 18 games this season and Griffin underwent season-ending knee surgery. He averaged only 15.5 points and 4.7 rebounds while shooting just 35.2% from the field. Without Griffin, the Pistons finished third from the last in the Eastern Conference with a 20-46 record. Detroit traded Andre Drummond during mid-season and they also waived Reggie Jackson and Markieff Morris after buyouts.

Basketball DeMarcus Cousins

DeMarcus Cousins was the best center in the NBA when he suffered a torn left Achilles in 2018 while he was still playing for the New Orleans Pelicans. So instead of getting a max contract during the summer, he ended up taking a $5.3M contract with the Golden State Warriors just to play through the 2019 season. Cousins had a decent year in Golden State although he didn’t return to his old form. After the Dubs lost their 2019 title bid, he signed with the Los Angeles Lakers during the offseason. However, Cousins suffered a torn left ACL.

The Lakers waived Cousins last February to sign Markieff Morris for a possible playoff run. It will be interesting where Cousins will go next season but if he gets healthy, he will make an impact on whichever team signs him. It was reported that Cousins and the Lakers expressed mutual interest in signing another contract this summer.

Basketball Andre Roberson

After having a breakout 2016-17 postseason, big things were expected from Andre Roberson during the 2018 season. But after a slow start to the 2017-18 campaign, Roberson tore his left patellar tendon on January 27, 2018. But after suffering several setbacks during his recovery period, Roberson has not played in the NBA in the last two seasons.

Last February, Roberson said that he was ready to play but before he was evaluated by the team’s medical staff, the season was suspended. With an extended break, Roberson should be ready to go when the 2020-21 season begins. The Thunder had a surprising 2019-20 season and Roberson will only make them better next year.

Basketball Rodney Hood

Just when Rodney Hood was starting to find his calling in Portland, the forward suffered a torn left Achilles tendon during a regular-season game against the Los Angeles Lakers last December. He was averaging 11.5 points and 3.5 rebounds in just over 30 minutes of playing time with Portland.

Hood was blossoming to a contributor in Utah when he was traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers. He never got his game going in Cleveland and was traded to the Blazers in February 2019. He played a key role for the Blazers during their run to the 2019 Western Conference Finals. The Hood and Jusuf Nurkic should make the Blazers an interesting team during the 2020-21 season.

Basketball Dwight Powell

Dwight Powell was trying to follow-up his first double-digit scoring season with another big year but instead suffered a serious injury that ended his season prematurely. Powell averaged 10.6 points, 5.3 rebounds, and 1.5 assists for the Mavericks during the 2018-19 season. He was having a good 2019-20 campaign where he put up 9.4 points and a career-high 5.7 rebounds when he suffered a season-ending Achilles injury.

Powell wasn’t expected to start the 2020-21 season but with the possibility that the opening could be moved back as an effect of the coronavirus pandemic, there is a chance that Powell will be back to start the next season or return early in the season for the Mavericks.

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