Injuries are part of professional sports, and teams fortunes can rest on how healthy their players remain throughout a season. Baseball has an inherent advantage because the season lasts from February through October, and longer if a squad makes the playoffs.
Football is usually hit with the most injuries because of the violent nature of the game, and a 17-week season. If a player gets seriously injured, they are probably going to miss a significant amount of time, if not the entire season.
But there were noteworthy injuries in all four major sports. Below we take a look at the most impactful ones of last season.
Down for the Football Count
Not surprisingly, the NFL had the most serious injuries of the 2017 season. And while quarterbacks weren’t the only ones sent to the sidelines for all or most of the season, they tended to be the most common victims.
Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers sent shockwaves through Wisconsin when he suffered a broken right collarbone against Minnesota in Week 6. Brett Hundley took over and the team went 3-4, assuring that the Packers would not only miss the playoffs, but also would experience their first losing season since 2008. Rodgers did return for Week 15, but was ineffective and put back on injured reserve, ending his comeback.
The other high-profile quarterback to go down was Philadelphia’s Carson Wentz. The Eagles signal caller suffered a season-ending torn ACL in Week 14. Before the injury Philadelphia was a favorite to win the NFC. Backup Nick Foles not only got them to the Super Bowl, but led them to a victory and won the MVP.
The team that was devastated by injuries was the Houston Texans. Not only did they lose starting quarterback DeShaun Watson, but All-Pro defensive end JJ Watt. Watson suffered a torn ACL in a Nov. 2 practice, and Watt broke his leg in Week 5 against the Kansas City Chiefs.
Basketball: Do Feet Bend That Way?
One of the most devastating injuries happened on the first night of the season. Boston’s Gordon Hayward came down awkwardly and fractured his ankle.
He was lost for the entire season, and Boston, who was favored to win the Eastern Conference, failed to reach the NBA Finals. Hayward spent the year rehabbing the injury and said he was mostly ready for the 2018-2019 season.
“I’m not 100 percent as far as basketball-wise, just because I haven’t played in a year,” Hayward said. “The last step for me as far as from a physical standpoint is a little explosion, that little last juice bounce that you get. So that’s going to take me the longest time. But like I said, for the most part, I feel very good.”
His teammate Kyrie Irving, who was traded to the Celtics from the Cleveland Cavaliers, also suffered a major injury. The All-Star injured his left knee and missed the last 15 games of the season and the playoffs.
San Antonio Spur Kawhi Leonard suffered a right quadriceps injury, though the extent of the injury was questioned by Spurs coach Gregg Popovich. It led to a rift between Leonard and the club, and he demanded a trade, that was fulfilled when he was shipped off to Toronto.
Hockey #@!&in Hurts
Teams are very protective of disclosing injuries, and aren’t held to the same rules as the other sports. Usually an injury is listed as either an upper or lower body injury.
One exception is concussions. The league reported there were 15 concussions suffered by 13 goalies alone in the 2017-2018 season. The most notable ones were Chicago Blackhawks Corey Crawford, who missed all of the year. Others who missed lengthy amounts of playing time were Pittsburgh’s Matt Murray and Vegas Golden Knights netminder Marc-Andre Fluery.
Former player Eric Lindros, whose career was cut short because of several concussions he suffered, went on HBO’s Real Sports and said the NHL can do more to try and curb the problem.
“We can do better,” Lindros said. “[Expletive] yeah, we can. We can do a lot better.”
For the most part serious baseball injuries were fewer than the other sports, though a couple definitely impacted teams. One was San Francisco pitcher Madison Bumgarner. He suffered a broken left hand when he was drilled by a line drive and missed three months of the season.
The most buzzworthy injury was of Los Angeles Dodger Shohei Ohtani. The two-way player was setting records that only Babe Ruth had achieved, but was dealt a setback in June with a sprain to his ulnar collateral ligament in his pitching arm. Fortunately it didn’t affect his hitting, and he continued to play.
By the end of the season, though, doctors recommended Tommy John surgery for the 24-year-old that will likely keep him off the mound until the 2020 season.