Basketball Injuries: The Past & Present

In light of the recent injury, during the 2018 NBA Playoffs, to Brooklyn Net’s Caris LeVert against Minnesota Timberwolves, we examine and reminisce basketball injuries that have occurred in the past and continue to occur today. What happened to LeVert? Well, he incurred a leg injury after a bad landing. We will go through some other common injuries that players – both professional and rookies – incur from playing basketball.

Let’s have a stroll down memory lane.

The ankle and the foot are two very common and vulnerable areas to injury. If you can hurt your ankle just walking, you can definitely hurt it playing a sport. During basketball, a lot of pressure is put on your ankle. Running, jumping, and shooting are all a part of the game and all result in applying pressure to your ankle.

DeMar DeRozan – former Toronto Raptor and current player for the San Antonio Spurs – sprained his left foot in 2014 putting him out for most of the games that season. Yikes! See the collision DeRozan had, causing his ankle injury. But not to worry too much, accidents happen, and DeRozan is back now playing for the Spurs in the 2018 season.

DeMar DeRozan injury

DeMar DeRozan

What's next? The hand and the wrist are susceptible to injuries, typically this happens when falls occur on outstretched hands. This is also common when catching the ball improperly – those balls are heavy!

Where have we seen this in basketball history?

Oklahoma City Thunder’s star player, Russell Westbrook, faced a broken bone in his right hand after the game against the Los Angeles Clippers game in 2014. Watch the collision Westbrook has with Kendrick Perkins’ elbow. If you want to learn more about Westbrook's incident, read this.

Russell Westbrook injury

Russell Westbrook

Washington Wizards, John Wall, incurred five non-displaced fractures in his hand. Five! Consequently, Wall missed three games in the series – not bad! Watch some of the injuries Wall has endured during his basketball career.

Similar to ankle/foot injuries, there is a lot of pressure on a player’s knee during games. A common injury is the jumper’s knee. This is when the tissue that joins the shin bone and kneecap is affected from overuse. Strengthening the hip flexors, quadriceps and hamstrings will all help slow down or prevent jumper’s knee. Direct falls to the knee will also cause injury (how bad the fall is will determine how severe the injury is).

Carmelo Anthony, playing for New York Knicks, battled a knee injury that caused him to go under surgery putting him out for four to six months. The silver-lining – it was successful surgery!

Carmelo Anthony injury

Carmelo Anthony

Lastly, head and face injuries are also possible and apparent throughout basketball history. Face injuries includes dental, nasal, eye, etc.

Taking a knee to the head, Klay Thompson, player for Golden State Warriors, incurred a concussion. The injury occurred after Thompson faked a shot resulting in a collision with a player. Luckily, Thompson returned to play afterwards and only underwent stitches to the ear.

Even the ball itself can cause harm! A fully pumped basketball exerts approximately 8 pounds per square inch of pressure. Learn more about basketball weight and size.

Like every sport and many activities in life, there will be potential risks. The point is that it is beneficial to understand and be aware of what could occur from playing – whether you are a player, a parent, or even the coach. Despite how small the injury may seem, it is critical to always seek medical attention to ensure there is no unforeseen damages.

Tweet us at @AppJavelin to let us know what is the worst basketball injury you know of.


Fu, Freddie H., and David A. Stone. Sports Injuries Mechanisms, Prevention, Treatment. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2001.

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