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The Hospital League All-Star Game

Injuries are a part of every NBA season, but I can't recall one where so many top level players were hurt.  You could put together a legitimate all-star team from players who have missed significant time due to injury this season:

Hospital League All-Star Starters
Shaquille O'Neal
Pau Gasol
Paul Pierce
Michael Redd
Chris Paul

Hospital League All-Star Reserves
Yao Ming
Chris Bosh
Rashard Lewis
Peja Stojakovich
Lamar Odom
Richard Jefferson
Jason Richardson

Unfortunately, the injury bug has been contagious on several teams.  The Nets are now missing the lesser two of their big four.  The Hornets played a long stretch of games without their four best players.  The Bucks are currently without four starters.  The Rockets have seen Yao and TMac miss 22 games.  The Lakers are currently missing 3 bigs.

This is one reason the Suns, Mavericks, Spurs and Jazz have been so good this year.  They've all managed to stay healthy.  The Suns starters have missed a total of 5 games.  The Jazz starters have also missed 5 games.  The Spurs 6.  For the Mavs, it's 10.  You certainly have to admire the job the Rockets and Lakers have done staying near the top in the brutal Western Conference while dealing with significant injuries.  

Of course, this makes all the whining about the Clippers injury `woes' seem petty.  Sure, the Clippers have had more injuries than the Suns, Jazz, Spurs or Mavs, but far fewer than the Rockets or Lakers.  Injuries are a part of the game.  If you stay healthy, that's a bonus, but if guys get hurt, you still have to play.  In fact, the Clippers supposed depth should have allowed them to withstand some injuries better than most teams.  If you had told me before the season started that they Lakers would have more injuries than the Clippers and yet be 6 games ahead in the standings at the mid point of the season I would have fallen over laughing.

Furthermore, it's hard to imagine a team that has benefited more from injuries to other teams.  The Clippers have played games against injury-depleted rosters at least 12 times: Memphis (twice), Houston (twice), Golden State (twice), Miami (twice), New Orleans, Toronto, Boston and Dallas.  That's 12 out of 40 games, off the top of my head.  Still they managed to lose 3 of those.  The trend continues this week, as the Bucks and Nets come into Staples Center.  

It's nice that the Clippers are almost back to full strength - Livingston will probably play Tuesday night.  But it's time to bear down and play basketball.  No more talk of injuries, or Russia, or other excuses.  Excuses are for losers.