Which NBA team is most likely to fall due to injury?

March 03, 2011

Spurs are cracking

Ira Winderman

Sun Sentinel

Hasn't Tony Parker just answered that, with all due respect to George Hill?

For months now, as the Spurs have extended their dominance, there has been lingering doubt about the ability of such a veteran roster to endure. With Parker out two to four weeks, are we starting to see the first cracks?

And that doesn't address the minutes being rung up by Manu Ginobili, who annually stands as the league's most significant question mark at this stage of the season.

When whole, the Spurs perennially have proved to be championship worthy. But as a true ensemble composition, when even one piece is missing, everything tends to be a bit off key.

With the depth of talent in the West, not even home-court advantage might be enough for a San Antonio roster that is less than whole.

iwinderman@tribune.com

Lakers' knees wobbly

Baxter Holmes

Los Angeles Times

The top teams in the East are run by relatively healthy 26-and-under stars: the Celtics' Rajon Rondo (25), the Bulls' Derrick Rose (22) and the Heat's LeBron James (26). It's unlikely any will go down.

Out West, the chances that Kobe Bryant and/or Andrew Bynum will miss time, though, are sky-high because of their bum knees.

Bryant is vital, but Bynum's shot-altering presence changes games and gives the Lakers a chance against anyone, including the Spurs, at least once Tony Parker gets back for the playoff run.

But if their knees act up, the Lakers won't survive, especially when they need all the firepower they can muster for a three-peat run against the many young-gun stars, star-studded rosters and veteran title contenders.

bholmes@tribune.com

Spurs showing their age

Zach McCann

Orlando Sentinel

The Spurs have enjoyed a fantastic season, surging to the league's best record behind veterans Manu Ginobili, Tim Duncan and Tony Parker. Those three have been around, they know how to win and know what it takes to win a championship.

But they're also old. And with age comes the propensity for injury.

The Spurs already have seen it with Tony Parker, who will miss two to four weeks with a sore left calf muscle. And Tim Duncan is hardly the player he has been in the past, posting career lows in points and rebounds and relying on his crafty skills more than what's left of his athleticism.

If there's a team that is going to suffer from injuries down the stretch, it's going to be the Spurs, who, despite their stars' advanced ages, are playing a faster-paced style of play.

zmccann@tribune.com

Duncan vulnerable

K.C. Johnson

Chicago Tribune

It seems strange to say that the league's most successful regular-season team will bow out of the playoffs because of an injury to a player who once was the main attraction and now is merely a piece.

But even if Tim Duncan's role has changed on the now-perimeter-driven Spurs, his presence is needed for defense and rebounding — you know, the qualities that win come playoff time. Duncan has been remarkably reliable throughout his Hall of Fame career, so it would be doubly sad to see such a great run felled by misfortune.

But the Celtics could withstand an injury to one of their top players. So could the Lakers. The Heat couldn't, but I don't expect either Dwyane Wade or LeBron James to go down.

kcjohnson@tribune.com

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