The label “injury-prone” is not a label any basketball player wants slapped on them. The stigma that accompanies it is less severe than “locker room cancer”, but more than “mails-in-games”. So when people call Andrew Bogut “injury-prone,” I feel compelled to correct them.
The 7’0 center has been on the receiving end of a long list of unlucky injuries. With that being said, anyone can get injured in any amount of freak ways. What I will attempt to prove through this article, though, is that the Golden State Warriors should not expect Bogut to get injured because of anything other than some freak injury.
Let’s take a look at two injuries that have sidelined Bogut for a extended amounts of time and draw our own conclusions.
April 3rd, 2010 – The Amar’e Incident
The Milwaukee Bucks hosted Steve Nash and Amar’e Stoudemire’s Phoenix Suns and were up 12 late in the second quarter when Stoudmire missed a long two-point shot. Carlos Delfino grabbed the rebound and lobbed the ball to Bogut, who had already started running down the court. The pin-point pass landed right in his hands and he went up to execute the slam dunk.
Meanwhile, Stoudemire had been trailing Bogut the entire way, and as the Australian went up, his arm came up to deliver a slight shove to Bogut’s back. The resulting fall was gruesome, as a 7’0, 260-pound frame crashedto the floor. The result was a dislocated right elbow, broken right hand, a wrist sprain and the end of his 2009-10 season. Up to that point, Bogut had averaged 15.9 points, 10.2 rebounds, 1.8 assists and 2.5 blocks per game.
Obviously, this injury fits under the “freak accident” column. No amount of exercising, dieting or stretching could have prevented an injury like this, and certainly it should not reflect anything about how prone the center is to injuries.
January 25th, 2012 – The Notorious Left Ankle
The Bucks played their 12th game of the season against the Houston Rockets in Houston. Bogut had recorded three blocks already in just nine minutes of play. He attempted to get his fourth as he leapt up to block Kyle Lowry’s layup, but he came down on the guard’s foot.
The awkward landing put Bogut on the floor in excruciating pain, and the result would be a fractured left ankle and the end of his 2011-12 season. It would also be the last time he would ever suit up in a Bucks uniform, as he was part of a multi-player deal that sent him to the Warriors.
The ankle injury and subsequent surgery was the subject of the highly-controversial “Bogut-gate,” where the Warriors claimed the center underwent arthroscopic surgery in April (a minor surgery that is used to clear debris, loose particles and bone spurs, and has a general surgery-to-sports recovery time of two to three months).
After claiming Bogut would be ready for training camp in October, it was later revealed, by the big man himself, that he also underwent microfracture surgery (an infinitely more serious surgery that involves creating small fractures in the bone, which facilitates cartilage growth and has a recovery time closer to a year).
Like the elbow injury, this one should also be considered a “freak accident.” The awkward landing was not a result of anything other than plain bad luck, and it would be ignorant to assume otherwise, especially if you review the video for both the injuries I have listed.
Since the surgery, Bogut has only played 32 games, but he displayed that he could easily match pre-injury levels. This became especially apparent during the playoffs, when he averaged 7.2/10.9/1.8 and 1.5 blocks in just 27 minutes per game.
The Australian’s surgically repaired ankle should not be considered a liability going forward, as he will have a three-to-four month rest and rehabilitation period to get back to full health. “Injury-prone” certainly is not a fair label for the No. 1 overall pick, and hopefully this next season will prove just how durable can be.