LEEInks List: Devastating injuries to Boston athletes in past decade
|02.12.13 at 11:51 am ET|
It’s been a rough few weeks for the Celtics. First it was Rajon Rondo going down with a season-ending ACL tear. Then Jared Sullinger was lost for the season with a back issue that will require surgery. Now, Leandro Barbosa appears to have suffered a serious knee injury in Monday night’s loss to the Bobcats that ended Boston’s seven-game winning streak.
Where do the C’s go from here? The team can take one of two paths. President of basketball operations Danny Ainge could stick with the team he has minus Rondo, Sullinger and Barbosa, maybe make a couple of small upgrades before the trade deadline, and hope for an unlikely long playoff run. Some are pushing for Ainge to “blow up” the team, make a significant trade or two (possibly involving career-long Celtic Paul Pierce or the emotional team leader Kevin Garnett) and look toward the organization’s future. This might lead to the team missing out on the postseason for the first time since the 2006-07 season (the year before the C’s acquired Garnett and Ray Allen).
Whatever Ainge, Doc Rivers and the organization decide to do, it seems that these injuries — especially to the All-Star Rondo — are a crushing blow to the team’s already slim chances at a deep playoff run.
This certainly isn’t the only time a Boston team has been bitten bad by the injury bug. With that in mind, here are 10 of the most devastating injuries affecting Boston sports teams in the last 10 years.
10. Patriots, 2005 — Rodney Harrison suffers season-ending knee injury
By 2005, Harrison was a 12-year NFL veteran, slightly old and injury-prone. In a Week 3 matchup vs. the Steelers, the safety tore his ACL, MCL and PCL and was done for the season. To add to that, offensive lineman Matt Light also was lost for the season during the same game. Harrison was the team’s veteran leader in the secondary and his absence was costly. The Patriots lost to the Broncos in the AFC divisional round that postseason.
9. Red Sox, 2010 — Jacoby Ellsbury misses majority of season with multiple issues
Injuries decimated the Red Sox at a historic pace in 2010, as 19 players combined for 24 stints on the disabled list, and many of them were key players on the roster. Ellsbury had three of those 24 stints. In April, Ellsbury was placed on the 15-day DL after colliding with third baseman Adrian Beltre and injuring his ribs. Ellsbury came back at the end of May but re-injured the ribs and went back on the disabled list. Again, Ellsbury rejoined the Red Sox in the beginning of August, but after a week and a half, Ellsbury was done for the season.
8. Patriots, 2010 — Wes Welker injures knee in regular-season finale
As the Patriots closed out the regular season with a game against the Texans in Houston, Welker injured his ACL and MCL on a play involving … guess who? Yes, Bernard Pollard (although in this case Pollard didn’t get a chance to cause the injury, as Welker was hurt planting his leg before any contact was made). Welker was lost for the playoffs, which didn’t last long for the Patriots, as they were upset by the Ravens in Foxboro in the opening round.
7. Bruins, 2007 — Patrice Bergeron receives concussion
Bergeron’s 2007-08 season was off to a fantastic start through 10 games. He had scored three goals and contributed four assists before suffering a season-ending head injury on Oct. 27. On a hard check from Flyers defenseman Randy Jones, Bergeron broke his nose on the end boards and received a Grade 3 concussion (Jones was suspended two games). The Bruins still sneaked into the 2008 playoffs as the eighth seed and nearly upset the Canadiens, but without Bergeron they couldn’t advance.
6. Celtics, 2009 — Kevin Garnett suffers knee injury
The 2008-09 season for KG, his second in Boston, was not quite as magical as his first. On Feb. 19, 2009, when Garnett strained his right knee on an alley-oop attempt, the Celtics had a 44-12 record. Garnett missed the next 14 games, then returned for four, but was then shut down for the remainder of the regular season and entire postseason. The Celtics still finished 62-20, good for the second seed in the Eastern Conference, but were defeated by the Magic and clearly were a different team without KG.
5. Red Sox, 2012 — Jacoby Ellsbury injures shoulder in home opener
April 13, 2012, should have been a great day at Fenway Park. The Red Sox pounded the talented Rays, 12-2, in Fenway’s 100th home opener. However, the game’s result had a very dark cloud hanging over it, as Ellsbury, the 2011 MVP runner-up, injured his right shoulder while attempting to break up a double play by sliding into Rays shortstop Reid Brignac. Ellsbury was placed on the disabled list and did not return until July 13. He still had half of the season left when he returned, but Ellsbury clearly was not the same player, finishing with a .271 batting average, four home runs, 26 RBIs and 14 stolen bases in 74 games played.
4. Patriots, 2012 — Rob Gronkowski suffers high ankle sprain in AFC championship game
Another Pollard victim, Gronk injured his ankle in the 2012 AFC championship game against the Ravens. The Patriots won and advanced to Super Bowl XLVI against the Giants, but Gronkowski was no factor. He only had two receptions for 26 yards and the Patriots lost to the Giants again. Plenty of people have speculated that the Patriots would have won with a fully healthy Gronk.
3. Bruins, 2010 — David Krejci dislocates wrist before B’s playoff collapse vs. Flyers
In Game 3 of the Eastern Conference semifinals against the Flyers, Krejci dislocated his wrist and was lost for the remainder of the playoffs. The Bruins ended up winning that game and held a seemingly insurmountable 3-0 series lead. Without Krejci, though, the Bruins dropped four straight, allowing the Flyers to advance to face the Canadiens.
2. Patriots, 2008 — Tom Brady’s season ends on first series of first game with torn ACL
Bernard Pollard, then with the Chiefs, made a diving hit on Brady’s left leg, and No. 12’s season was over shortly after it started. Brady tore both his ACL and MCL, and just halfway through the first quarter of the season-opener against the Chiefs, the Patriots’ championship hopes took a significant blow. Backup quarterback Matt Cassel actually had a very good year (3,693 passing yards, 21 touchdown passes, 11 interceptions, 89.4 quarterback rating) and led the Patriots to an 11-5 record. However, this was not enough to make the playoffs, as the Dolphins finished 11-5 and won the division tiebreaker.
1. Celtics, 2010 — Kendrick Perkins tears ACL in Game 6 of NBA finals vs. Lakers
During the 2010 playoffs, fans might have viewed Perkins as “just the starting center,” but his value and absence was felt like no other time in his Celtics career than in Game 7 of that year’s NBA finals. In the first quarter of Game 6, with the Celtics leading the series 3-2, Perk tore both his MCL and PCL while attempting to grab a rebound. When Pau Gasol grabbed 18 rebounds in Game 7 and the Lakers defeated the Celtics to win the title, fans realized just how devastating Perkins’ injury was.
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