More often than not, injuries force coaches to change their rotations to try and fill the gap a star player has left in the team, and that kind of adjustments make represent the difference between flushing a season down the drain or making a late postseason push.
This season has been plagued with nagging injuries ever since the jump ball, and several stars like Cousins, Porzingis and Hayward were quickly ruled out for the remainder of the season, something that obviously took a toll in their team’s chances.
Furthermore, some late comebacks can actually boost their teams Championship odds after coaches found a way to thrive without their best players, so they get quite excited upon their arrival with the playoffs just around the corner.
That’s why today, we’re going to let you know about 5 players that are currently injured, but that are set to have a huge impact for their teams when they come back for the postseason.
5. Reggie Jackson
The Detroit Pistons are a lock to make the playoffs upon Blake Griffin’s arrival, and they’ve been one of the hottest teams in the Eastern Conference lately. Also, the Miami Heat is sliding and they’re likely to finish the season as the 9th seed.
Reggie Jackson is the Pistons’ starting point guard and even though Ish Smith seems to be a better fit next to Drummond, Reggie is a volume scorer that can form a very scary big three alongside Andre and Blake, and his comeback may be just enough to at least steal a couple of games in the postseason.
4. John Wall
There have been a lot of rumors pointing towards some bad blood between John Wall and the rest of his teammates, and truth to be told, the Washington Wizards have been on a roll of late even despite Wall’s injury, mostly because of Satoranky’s stellar play in both ends of the court.
Nevertheless, he’s by far the most talented player in the team and having an all-star point guard is something not much squads can brag about. Also, with coaches tending to shorten their rotations come playoff time, he’s looking at a huge usage rate in the postseason, so they definitely need him at his best.
3. Jimmy Butler
Jimmy Butler just avoided an ACL tear but is still looking at 6 to 8 weeks on the sidelines following a meniscus surgery, something that may make the Timberwolves slide all the way to the 5th seed in the Western Conference after being just a couple of games away from the Spurs and the 3rd spot.
Butler has been by far the best player for Thibodeau’s team and they’re definitely going to miss his hustle in the defensive end of the floor as much as they’re going to miss his offensive craft, but at least they can count on him coming back when it matters the most.
2. Paul Millsap
Millsap has barely played this season after signing an extremely lucrative deal with the Denver Nuggets, but they’ve still managed to put together an outstanding season and are looking to put an end to their playoff drought.
So, adding Paul into the mix come playoff time is going to be a huge boost for a team that’s desperately craving some veteran leadership, and there are few teams that could count on such a dynamic frontcourt like Millsap and Jokic, allowing them to really push up pace and stretch the floor with two very good shooting and passing big men.
1. Kevin Love
Kevin Love was one of the Cavs’ biggest scapegoats during their slump, but we’ve all seen what he’s capable of doing in the postseason and how much LeBron James missed him in the Finals against Golden State three years ago, especially with Lue’s offensive system using him so much in the elbows.
Love is one of the team’s most reliable shooters from beyond the arc and his presence allows LeBron to get a lot of space when driving to the rim, as well as being a very underrated defender that can be the difference maker against the Boston Celtics in the postseason.