8 Shocking Videos Of The Worst Basketball Injuries Ever
1. Gordon Hayward
It was the first 7 minutes of the first game of the season. All-Star Gordon Hayward had just signed with the Boston Celtics, who were poised to finally duke it out with the team that had knocked them out of the playoffs the year before, the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Superstar Kyrie Irving had switched sides in a league-shattering trade between the Cavs and Celts. It was the type of storyline that makes basketball what it is.
And then it happened: Hayward, seeking to complete an alley oop, landed on his leg the wrong way. The leg snapped, and with it went the Celtics’ title chances. Players and fans alike were disturbed. Like something from a horror movie, Hayward’s leg was facing the wrong direction, all on national TV.
2. Shaun Livingston
In 2007, Shaun Livingston thought he might have to have his leg amputated. In an awkward landing following a missed layup, Livingston blew out his knee completely. He tore his ACL, his PCL and MCL.
Any of these injuries can be career ending for a basketball player, which is why it’s a modern medicinal miracle that Livingston came back after 20 months of rehab. The injury was one of the worst to happen in-game, but that didn’t hold Livingston back. In the last 10 years, he’s become a key supporting player on two championship teams.
3. Rudy Tomjanovich
Most of the injuries on this list come from bad luck. This one comes from malice. In 1977, five-time All-Star Rudy Tomjanovich was viciously punched by Kermit Washington during a particularly intense game. Tomjanovich was approaching center court in an attempt to relieve a fight when Washington slugged him right in the head.
Tomjanovich’s jaw was shattered, as was his face, and the injuries to his brain and head were life-threatening. Tomjanovich managed to recover after five years and had several productive seasons before he was forced to end his career. Later, he won two rings as a coach of the Hakeem-led Houston Rockets.
4. Paul George
Fans who watched Gordon Hayward’s nightmarish injury had flashbacks to Paul George’s grueling Team USA injury in preparation for the FIBA world cup. While attempting to foul teammate James Harden during a scrimmage, George landed on the stanchion and snapped his leg in half.
The injury came due to the difference in stanchion placement on the court between the NBA and FIBA. George, a superstar, was sidelined for the entire summer and the majority of the 2014-2015 season. Onlookers will never forget the severity and graphicness of the injury. George has since recovered in style.
5. Derrick Rose
It seems like ancient history now, but back in 2011/2012 Derrick Rose was slated to become a king. Fresh off an MVP win – the youngest winner in history – and a max contract signing, Rose and the rising Bulls were a serious threat against the LeBron James-led Miami Heat.
But a playoff ACL tear started the tragic downfall of Rose’s career. His initial return was promising, but a continued series of knee injuries turned the former MVP into a journeyman and backup.
Rose’s tragic fall makes him one of the greatest what-ifs in basketball history. Many speculate he may be the first MVP to miss out on the Hall of Fame.
6. Greg Oden
Another player, another great what-if. Greg Oden, the No. 1 pick and all-around stud, was slated to be one of the greats. Athletic and savvy, he managed to get picked ahead of the Hall of Fame-lock Kevin Durant.
But a continued series of injuries, including one that kept him out of his rookie season, kept him from ever reaching a rhythm. His first three seasons saw injury after injury, and setback after setback.
Despite an attempted comeback in 2015 after years of nagging injuries, Oden was never able to right his career. He ended up playing in China for one season in 2016.
7. Andrew Bogut
Selected at No. 1, the 7-foot Australian Andrew Bogut was a true force for the Milwaukee Bucks. A double-double threat and defensive presence, he was slated to be a new great big man for the storied franchise. Then, after some mid-air contact with Amaré Stoudemire, a single fall led to a brutal injury.
After attempting to right himself with the help of the hoop, Bogut came crashing down, landing on his right arm. Bogut broke his hand, dislocated his elbow and sprained his wrist. A career of small injuries followed, though Bogut did manage to nab a championship with the Warriors in 2015.
8. Jamal Crawford
Some injuries look worse than they actually are. Such was the case with Jamal Crawford’s terrifying fall in 2003. The Sixth Man extraordinaire fell over another player and landed directly on his neck.
Moments like these build true dread and terror as thoughts of paralysis and even death begin to circulate. A ruined knee is one thing, a ruined spine extends far beyond basketball.
Fortunately, Crawford only sprained his neck and was released from the hospital the next day. In a true bounce back, Crawford has excelled off the bench since, winning three Sixth Man of the Year Awards.