2013 NBA Playoffs Injury and Illness Update

2013 NBA Playoffs

Sports analysts will talk up x-factors before any NBA Playoffs matchups, which usually take the form of important bench players, coaching schemes, or home crowd rowdiness. But the x-factor in the Bulls and Nets series has become the medical staff. Already dealing with a string of injuries, the Bulls team is now, and during last night’s game, combating the flu. Making this no longer just an injury update, but rather a 2013 NBA Playoffs injury and illness update.

2013 NBA Playoffs
Los Angeles Clippers power forward Blake Griffin 32 during the first half against the Memphis Grizzlies in game five of the first round of the 2013 NBA Playoffs at the Staples Center Robert Hanashiro USA TODAY Sports

1. Blake Griffin – Tonight is do-or-die for the Clippers’ season, Vinnie del Negro’s coaching job, and Chris Paul’s stay in Lob City. If the Clippers get dominated by Memphis tonight, expect major changes in an organization that seems to be falling apart even before a first round exit.

After leaving Game 5 with an ankle injury, a lot of L.A.’s success will fall on Griffin’s health. Hopefully Griffin is smart enough to understand that tonight is do-or-die for his legacy as well. With Paul jumping ship, the high-flying showman will have a much harder job leaving a stamp on the game’s history books. If he understands that, he’ll play tonight.

2. Chris Paul – CP3 has never shied away from taking on the load of a team’s responsibility. But managing an unmotivated Clippers team might be more than he should expect to bear. He’ll have to be brilliant tonight, even with a nagging thumb injury, to keep the season afloat.

3. Carlos Delfino – The underappreciated shooting guard is questionable tonight with a left foot injury. Even without Delfino for much of Game 5, Houston was able to pull off a major win. If they have any hopes of toppling the Western Conference’s reigning team, they’ll need him tonight (and in Game 7).

4. Jeremy Lin – It’s hard to hate on Lin, who is only trying to do the best with a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. But Houston has Oklahoma on the ropes, and they can use a brilliant game from Lin to finish them off in the next two games. His chest injury doesn’t seem severe enough to have to rest another crucial game.

5. Carmelo Anthony – The Knicks are but one Melo away from any championship hopes even when he’s healthy and on the floor. Though he’s one of the best offensive weapons in the league, he can be inconsistent, especially when injured. Dealing with a shoulder injury, suffered in Game 5, he’s expected to play tonight. But look for major strain from the All-Star.

6. James Harden – Houston seems comfortable living and dying by The Beard. Who wouldn’t be after seeing him go 6-9 from deep, and 10-16 in the game last Wednesday. He’s dealing with strep throat, but is a warrior, and will play tonight.

7. Steve Novak – I’m not entirely sure why the Knicks don’t use Novak for longer stretches of playing time in this Boston series. He’s shooting a ridiculous 60% from the field. His defense is suspect, but it’s not like Boston is overflowing with offensive weapons. He remains doubtful for Game 6 tonight with a back strain.

8. The Whole Bulls TeamLuol Deng got a spinal tap. Nate Robinson puked in front of the home crowd. Hinrich is fighting Father Time, one limb at a time. Rose is nowhere in sight. What looked like a resilient Bulls team, now looks like a disaster clinic. If the Bulls expect to win in Game 7, they’ll need Hinrich and Deng to be at close to 100%. That’s looking more and more doubtful.

9. Andris Biedrins & David Lee – Though he only played for one minute, it was inspiring for Golden State to see Lee back on the court. Especially because he was expected to be out for the rest of the season with a hip injury. But GS might be better off keeping its eyes on Biedrins’ return against a second round matchup with San Antonio. The seven-footer can serve as some added height to throw at Duncan.

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Bogar Alonso
Bogar Alonso is a dedicated student of the hardwood, soccer pitch, boxing ring, and tennis court. He is a regular NBA contributor to XN Sports. His work, involving more than just sports, has appeared on The Creators Project, A&E Networks, XXL Magazine, and others. Follow Bogar on Twitter @blacktiles