This 2013-2014 NBA season has been pretty challenging for certain teams when it comes to the health of their players. From the comebacks of Kobe Bryant to Derrick Rose, fans have been looking forward to see their star players grace the courts during the 63rd annual All-Star weekend, but injuries have seemed to taken over. In fact, Bryant even told fans that he was not deserving of his starting All-Star bid and planned to sit out for the All-Star game on Feb. 16 in New Orleans; and sit out he did, albeit due to the lingering effects of his knee injury.
Injuries to players like Steve Nash, Al Horford, Brook Lopez, Andre Iguodola and Tyson Chandler have all made this basketball season gloomy and painful. Some have returned, some are slowly making their way back and it seems as if some of the best are out for the season. But despite their injuries, they’re still getting paid big bucks to sit on the sidelines, recover and ponder on their magnificent return.
Check out the NBA’s top 10 highest-paid players on the injured list this season.
10. Chris Paul – LA Clippers – $18,668,431 in 2013-14
It’s been a challenging past few weeks for the Clippers with Paul out due to a shoulder injury, but coach Doc Rivers has found ways to make sure his team survives in the Western Conference. Back on January 3, Paul went down with a separated left shoulder. Since then, the Clippers seem to have been able to adjust, as they went 12-4 with him out of the lineup. He returned in time for the All-Star game this past weekend, well within the original six-week timetable that was set after an MRI examination confirmed his Grade 3 separation of the right AC joint in his shoulder. Paul missed 18 games due to the injury.
9. Amar’e Stoudemire – New York Knicks – $21,379,893 in 2013-14
Who knows when Amar’e Stoudemire will ever be 100% percent to play again. One thing’s for sure, the New York Knicks are expecting more from the third-highest-paid player in the NBA. The 31-year-old’s body has taken a beating in the NBA, but try convincing him to hang up his shoes. Stoudemire has seen more floor time in recent games after warming the Knicks’ bench while healing his left ankle. He is signed through the 2014-2015 season with $45 million left after this season.
8. Deron Williams – New Jersey Nets – $18,466,130 in 2013-14
The Nets have been holding their own, going 8-5 after Deron Williams‘ return from an ankle injury on January 20. Backup point guard Shaun Livingston filled in for Williams who has been plagued by nagging injuries over the past two seasons. The Nets are in the playoff picture after getting off to a poor start at the beginning of the season. Williams had coach Jason Kidd sit him out in his first few games back after ankle treatments, but he will have to pick up his game and start playing like the Nets’ franchise player if they are to have any chance at a postseason run. He is averaging 13.3 points and 6.6 assists per game this season, his lowest averages since his rookie year.
7. Russell Westbrook – Oklahoma City Thunder – $14,693,906 in 2013-14
Westbrook had never missed a game throughout high school, college or the NBA until last postseason. It seems as soon as the media took notice of his tremendous work ethic, after he got injured. Since last April, he has undergone three knee surgeries. According to the Thunder, Westbrook is expected to return in late February, sometime after the All-Star break. His third and most recent surgery, after he posted a triple-double against the New York Knicks in December, came as a surprise to many. Although he has been playing pain free, he had reportedly experienced some swelling. At the time, an MRI was taken which revealed a high level of concern. Since Westbrook’s absence, Kevin Durant has taken on a bigger role and has led OKC to a 43-12 record, which makes them 1st in the Northwest Division.
6. Tyson Chandler – New York Knicks – $14,100,538 in 2013-14
This season, the Knicks have been plagued with injuries and the fact that their best center has been day-to-day with inconsistent minutes does not help the team. The big man broke his left fibula on Nov. 5 and was initially ruled out for four to six weeks. The Knicks have relied on Andrea Bargnani as a backup, but he tore a ligament in his left elbow against the Philadelphia 76ers on January 22.
5. Brook Lopez – Brooklyn Nets – $14,693,906 in 2013-14
In early January, the Brooklyn Nets announced that their center would be out the remainder of the 2013-2014 season following surgery on his broken right foot. On December 20, Lopez went down during a game against Philadelphia. Doctors repaired the fifth metatarsal in his right foot and made a second adjustment during the procedure. He previously fractured the same fifth metatarsal in December 2011, and later had a screw replaced in it this past offseason. Lopez is in the second year of a four-year, $60 million max contract he signed in the summer of 2012. Since Lopez has been out, the team has been able to pick up and are now 14-6 for 2014 and are 2nd in the Atlantic Division.
4. Danny Granger – Indiana Pacers – $ 14,021,788 in 2013-14
Granger’s season-ending strained calf injury was a gift and a curse for the Indiana Pacers last season. They pretty much moved on without him, resulting in Paul George skyrocketing to stardom, and the Pacers became one of the best teams in the Eastern Conference. Granger, who has started 423 games for the Pacers in his career, returned in December and acknowledged that he has no problem with coming off the bench.
3. Derrick Rose – Chicago Bulls – $17,632,688 in 2013-14
So many fans were looking forward to the return of Rose after he sat out for the entire 2012-2013 season. Their dreams were crushed when he tore the meniscus in his right knee back in November. Now, he will be out for the rest of this season. He only played 10 games before his left knee gave way during a game against Portland. It happened when he made a backdoor cut and his right knee buckled as he planted his left foot. He did not have any contact with any player on the floor. Overall, he has played only 10 games this season. Hopefully, he will play this summer with team USA.
2. Kobe Bryant – LA Lakers – $30,453,805 in 2013-14
It’s truly a sad story for Bryant and many fans who hope to see him make a successful comeback for this season, but the odds are unlikely. Back in December, the Lakers announced that Bryant was expected to miss six weeks due to a fracture of the lateral tibial plateau in his left knee. The injury comes a blow to the team, who signed Bryant to a two-year, $48.5 million contract extension before he even made it back on the court from a torn Achilles tendon suffered last April. He was ruled out for the 2014 NBA All-Star game and was replaced by James Harden on the Western roster. Overall, Kobe has played only 6 games this season.
1. Emeka Okafor – Phoenix Suns – $14,487,500 in 2013-14
Okafor has yet to get any minutes this season with the Phoenix Suns after dealing with a herniated disc. The nine-year veteran center, who was the No. 2 pick in the 2004 NBA draft began feeling discomfort in his neck and an MRI confirmed that he was suffering from a herniated c4 cervical disc. Okafor has high hopes on returning and is reportedly not considering retirement.
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