Players Who Recovered From Possible Career-Ending Injuries

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Photo: FlurrySportsc

One of the toughest things to go through as an athlete is an injury that is possibly career-ending. It’s not only the actual pain of the injury, but also the emotional pain that you’ll probably never will be able to step on the court again, or if you do, never reach your pre-injury level again.

DeMarcus Cousins ruptured his Achilles in January 2018, and while he was recovering from this injury, he proved not one, but two things. First, he showed everyone that his torn Achilles wasn’t career ending, as he returned to action a full year after the injury. Second, he proved he was worth taking a risk for, as the Golden State Warriors were one of the only teams that showed any interest in him during his free agency this summer. Most teams thought he was too much of a risk with his Achilles, as no one knew what kind Cousins’ possibilities would be after he recovered. The Warriors trust paid off, as Cousins is already making an impact for his new team. He scored 14 points or more in three of the four games he played so far, and is also grabbing the rebounds to go with it.

Cousins is definitely not the only player that managed to come back from a career-threatening injury, and in recent years, these players also proved you can comeback from a severe injury.

Kobe Bryant

Photo: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

Bryant was already well in his thirties, and his torn Achilles came after he played 40+ minutes in seven consecutive games. The GM of the Lakers had already made clear that he thought Bryant should slow down a bit, but Bryant was sure this was needed for the Lakers to reach the playoffs. Eventually, they reached the post-season, but without Bryant they were swept by the Spurs.

He returned for three more seasons, playing 6, 35 and 66 games, but he never reached his pre-Achilles level, and he continued to be plagued by several injuries. This included a lateral tibial plateau fracture in his knee, soreness in his knees, feet, back, Achilles tendons, a rotator cuff tear in his shoulder and a calf injury. Of course, as he averaged about 36 minutes throughout his career, his body could just have been tired, and that wasn’t necessarily connected to the Achilles injury, as he performed quite well in between injuries.

Paul Pierce

Photo: Celtics Hub

Pierce’s career could’ve ended just after it began, and it wasn’t only career-threatening, but it was even life threatening. Back in September 2000, Pierce tried to break up a fight in a bar, and instead of stopping it all, Pierce became the victim, and was rushed to the hospital after being stabbed 11 times. The attack plagued him for a long time and led to anxiety attacks. For years, Pierce couldn’t stand to be in crowded areas. But, even though he was injured and had to undergo surgery in September, he managed to play all 82 games in the 2000-2001 season, and earned his nickname ‘The Truth’.

Shaun Livingston

Photo: Chris Elise

In February 2007, Livingston had a horrible knee injury, where he injured almost everything that was possible to injury in a knee. His kneecap was dislocated, which caused the left leg to snap laterally, his ACL, PCL and lateral meniscus tore, sprained his MCL, and dislocated his patella. At that point, the doctors weren’t even sure they could actually save the leg

1,5 years, and a lot of rehabilitation later, Livingston was allowed to start playing basketball again, and the only thing he needed to do was find a new team, as the Clippers didn’t offer him a new contract during free agency. The next few years mostly existed out of sitting on the bench, being traded, playing in the D-League, being waived, and even when he wasn’t injured and got a lot of minutes, he failed to make an impact.

Then, he revived his year in 2014, when he signed with the Golden State Warriors. Especially in 2015 he was a key player of the bench in the race for the playoffs. The next year, he even moved into the starting line-up in the playoffs to replace the injured Steph Curry. Now, he continues to play an important role off the bench.

Tony Parker

Photo: USA Today

Parker’s severest injury also didn’t happen on the court, but in a bar. He was in the audience when a fight broke out between Drake and Chris Brown, and at one point (broken) glass bottles starting to fly around. Unfortunately, Parker was in the wrong place and some of the glass got stuck in his eye. His cornea was touched by the glass, but it could’ve been way worse. He was even able to compete in the Olympics for France that year.

 

Photo: FlurrySportsc

One of the toughest things to go through as an athlete is an injury that is possibly career-ending. It’s not only the actual pain of the injury, but also the emotional pain that you’ll probably never will be able to step on the court again, or if you do, never reach your pre-injury level again.

DeMarcus Cousins ruptured his Achilles in January 2018, and while he was recovering from this injury, he proved not one, but two things. First, he showed everyone that his torn Achilles wasn’t career ending, as he returned to action a full year after the injury. Second, he proved he was worth taking a risk for, as the Golden State Warriors were one of the only teams that showed any interest in him during his free agency this summer. Most teams thought he was too much of a risk with his Achilles, as no one knew what kind Cousins’ possibilities would be after he recovered. The Warriors trust paid off, as Cousins is already making an impact for his new team. He scored 14 points or more in three of the four games he played so far, and is also grabbing the rebounds to go with it.

Cousins is definitely not the only player that managed to come back from a career-threatening injury, and in recent years, these players also proved you can comeback from a severe injury.

Kobe Bryant

Photo: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

Bryant was already well in his thirties, and his torn Achilles came after he played 40+ minutes in seven consecutive games. The GM of the Lakers had already made clear that he thought Bryant should slow down a bit, but Bryant was sure this was needed for the Lakers to reach the playoffs. Eventually, they reached the post-season, but without Bryant they were swept by the Spurs.

He returned for three more seasons, playing 6, 35 and 66 games, but he never reached his pre-Achilles level, and he continued to be plagued by several injuries. This included a lateral tibial plateau fracture in his knee, soreness in his knees, feet, back, Achilles tendons, a rotator cuff tear in his shoulder and a calf injury. Of course, as he averaged about 36 minutes throughout his career, his body could just have been tired, and that wasn’t necessarily connected to the Achilles injury, as he performed quite well in between injuries.

Paul Pierce

Photo: Celtics Hub

Pierce’s career could’ve ended just after it began, and it wasn’t only career-threatening, but it was even life threatening. Back in September 2000, Pierce tried to break up a fight in a bar, and instead of stopping it all, Pierce became the victim, and was rushed to the hospital after being stabbed 11 times. The attack plagued him for a long time and led to anxiety attacks. For years, Pierce couldn’t stand to be in crowded areas. But, even though he was injured and had to undergo surgery in September, he managed to play all 82 games in the 2000-2001 season, and earned his nickname ‘The Truth’.

Shaun Livingston

Photo: Chris Elise

In February 2007, Livingston had a horrible knee injury, where he injured almost everything that was possible to injury in a knee. His kneecap was dislocated, which caused the left leg to snap laterally, his ACL, PCL and lateral meniscus tore, sprained his MCL, and dislocated his patella. At that point, the doctors weren’t even sure they could actually save the leg

1,5 years, and a lot of rehabilitation later, Livingston was allowed to start playing basketball again, and the only thing he needed to do was find a new team, as the Clippers didn’t offer him a new contract during free agency. The next few years mostly existed out of sitting on the bench, being traded, playing in the D-League, being waived, and even when he wasn’t injured and got a lot of minutes, he failed to make an impact.

Then, he revived his year in 2014, when he signed with the Golden State Warriors. Especially in 2015 he was a key player of the bench in the race for the playoffs. The next year, he even moved into the starting line-up in the playoffs to replace the injured Steph Curry. Now, he continues to play an important role off the bench.

Tony Parker

Photo: USA Today

Parker’s severest injury also didn’t happen on the court, but in a bar. He was in the audience when a fight broke out between Drake and Chris Brown, and at one point (broken) glass bottles starting to fly around. Unfortunately, Parker was in the wrong place and some of the glass got stuck in his eye. His cornea was touched by the glass, but it could’ve been way worse. He was even able to compete in the Olympics for France that year.

 

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