Everybody looks forward to the first game of the season, as, after being without NBA basketball for so long, it feels as if they were never going to be back to the hardwood to try and win the Championship.
Several players take their time off to heal from injury, go through a procedure or worst, got injured during preseason, so, they’re forced to wait in the sidelines for a little bit longer than they would’ve wanted.
This season, sadly, isn’t going to be the exception to that rule, so we’re going to be forced to be a couple of games without watching some of our favorite players go at it. Today, we’re going to let you know about the top players that will miss their season opener.
I will not count DeMarcus Cousins and Kristaps Porzingis because they will probably miss the regular season.
6. Dwight Howard
Dwight Howard is on a mission to prove he’s still got what it takes to be a dominant two-way big man in this league, now that his never-ending journey has taken him to the Washington Wizards to join Wall and Beal.
Nevertheless, his vendetta year will have to wait for a little while as the injury-prone big man is going to be sidelined for a back injury and is going to have pain-relief injections throughout the next couple of weeks.
5. Lauri Markkanen
Lauri Markkanen was a great surprise for all of us last season, as even though the upside was clear, we thought as if he was going to take way more time to make the adjustment to NBA basketball.
Nonetheless, after gaining as much as 20 pounds during the summer, the Finnish suffered a right elbow injury that will keep him sidelined from 6 to 8 weeks, a tough break for the Bulls that Bobby Portis will try to take on his advantage.
4. Jimmy Butler
Jimmy Butler has managed to become this offseason’s center of attention due to the way he’s handled his contract situation with the Minnesota Timberwolves, asking to be traded as soon as possible.
We still don’t know whether if he will be traded rather sooner than later, but what it’s become crystal clear, is the fact that he’s not going to suit up for the team’s first couple of matchups after what he’s done and said.
3. Isaiah Thomas
Isaiah Thomas is coming off quite a disappointing and discouraging season, and now that he was set to take the hardwood and prove that he’s the same crafty scorer he was before, he suffered another injury.
Several weeks ago, Thomas injured his hip and has no clear timetable to return, although Denver insiders point that he’s “not even close yet”, so we’ll have to wait a while to see him make his Nuggets debut.
2. Dirk Nowitzki
The fact that Dirk Nowitzki is coming to play yet another season is something that never ceases to amaze, as this guy has already done it all, yet he didn’t hesitate to take a massive pay cut in order to play for an extra year.
Still, obviously he’s going to take way more time to heal than most guys, and it’s safe to expect a lot of DNP’s for him this season, especially in back-to-back sets. This time, he’ll miss a couple of weeks due to a sore ankle.
1. Russell Westbrook
Russell Westbrook is one of the league’s top-notch entertainers, a walking triple-double threat, the fastest guy in the NBA and a baller that could easily beat every player in the league one on one.
Sadly, he’s coming off yet another arthroscopic knee surgery, and even though he’s taking contact in drills and has succeeded to overcome that surgery earlier in his career, the Thunder is likely to take a cautious approach with him.