The 2012 NBA playoffs are off and running a bit later than usual this year due to the decision after the lockout to play 66 games despite beginning the season at Christmas rather than Halloween.
The season-ending ACL tears to Derrick Rose a in the final minutes of the Chicago Bulls win over the Philadelphia 76ers and Iman Shumpert of the already short-handed N.Y. Knicks during the team's humiliating loss to the Miami Heat, were just the start to the injury parade.
Late Sunday night in Memphis, the L.A. Clippers starting forward Caron Butler fractured his left hand and left the game, only to see his team make the Memphis Grizzlies part of an answer to a sports trivia question when the Clips made "a hellacious, historic comeback.." according to Yahoo! Sports .
Rose is the biggest and most impactful star to go down, but Shumpert and Butler are significant contributors to their respective teams and the latest in a string of high profile players to be seriously injured throughout an NBA season that was one continuous wind sprint.
Kobe Bryant endured torn ligaments in his wrist, a concussion and nasal fracture and then shin damage that finally put him out of commission for more than a week. Amarre Stoudemire is just returning from weeks out from a back injury. Ray Allen is still iffy after an ankle problem, Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh have lost significant time this season from a variety of ailments. Zach Randolph missed 38 games and Chauncey Billups barely made an impact in the early part of the season before going down to a nasty Achilles tear.
NBA playoff teams are more like MASH units these days and the first weekend of the playoffs made it even worse.
During an interview last Friday, David Stern, NBA Commissioner told ESPN radio in Los Angeles that he observed the difficulty staying healthy after a long lockout and a mere two weeks for a so-called training camp. The commissioner did not blame players for their own injuries, which if one knows Stern, would not have been out of the realm of possibility for him to do.
While some players tried to come into camp and play themselves into shape, the vast majority were ready. But the lack of rest and the hectic travel schedules that saw every team do at least one stretch of three games in a row that weren't played in the same venue, was bound to wear guys down.
Derrick Rose, Iman Shumpert and possibly Caron Butler have said goodbye to the 2012 playoffs. NBA fans shudder at what is yet to come with all but one game in four rounds yet to go.