An apple a day
By Jesse Pantuosco, Fantasy Sports Writer
Philadelphia, PA (SportsNetwork.com) - They say an apple a day keeps the doctor away.
I think there's gotta be more to it than that.
How else could you explain the rash of injuries we've seen over the last month? Fantasy studs Chris Paul (shoulder), Russell Westbrook (knee), Kobe Bryant (knee) and Eric Bledsoe (meniscus) are all out of commission. So are Nikola Vucevic (concussion) and Ryan Anderson (herniated disk).
The list goes on. But not everyone is on it. Indeed, durability still exists in certain corners of the basketball universe. Let's take a moment to recognize the precious few iron men left in the game today.
Blake Griffin, PF, Los Angeles Clippers
Griffin had his rookie season pushed back a year after fracturing his knee cap in a preseason game but since then, he's been the picture of health. In four seasons, Griffin has missed just two games. Including the playoffs, Wednesday's game against Dallas will be Griffin's 78th in a row.
Serge Ibaka, PF, Oklahoma City Thunder
Ibaka actually missed a game with the flu last week but that's been a rare occurrence for the 6-10 power forward. Since the start of the 2010-11 season, Ibaka has only been sidelined for three of a possible 267 games. That number stretches to 324 if you include the postseason.
DeAndre Jordan, C, Los Angeles Clippers
If the Clippers are playing, so is DeAndre Jordan. The 6-11 dunk wizard hasn't missed a game since March 23, 2011. Jordan's games played streak (including playoffs) will reach 214 on Wednesday night.
Damian Lillard, PG, Portland Trail Blazers
Lillard is one of only a handful of players in the NBA who wears the number zero. Funny, that's how many games he's missed in his two seasons in the league. And it's not like the Blazers have been taking it easy on him either. The talented youngster led the league in minutes played last season (this year he's 12th).
O.J. Mayo, SG, Milwaukee Bucks
The 2013-14 season has been full of disappointment for Mayo. But if there is one silver lining he can take away from this year it's that he's only had to miss one game. Of course, that's nothing new for Mayo. He didn't miss any games last season, or the year before, for that matter. If you include the playoffs, Mayo has only had to sit out 12 of a possible 451 games since entering the league in 2008.
Greg Monroe, PF, Detroit Pistons
They don't make guys much tougher than Greg Monroe. The bruising Motor City forward has yet to miss a game in 2013-14 and he only missed one last season. Overall, he's suited up for 265 of Detroit's 268 games since the start of the 2010-11 campaign.
Jeff Teague, PG, Atlanta Hawks
Teague isn't the biggest player in professional hoops (he stands at only 6-2) but he's probably one of the toughest. In the last three seasons, Atlanta's stud point guard has watched from the sidelines on just two occasions. Both of those absences occurred during the 2012-13 campaign.
Klay Thompson, SG, Golden State Warriors
Impressed with Thompson's perimeter game? Don't be. It's his attendance record that really stands out. Thompson has yet to miss a game in his first three NBA seasons. He didn't miss a game in college either, if you can believe it (98- for-98).
Evan Turner, G/F, Philadelphia 76ers
You know how Dwyane Wade misses games sometimes just to rest? That's not Turner's style. At all. He's only sat out one time this season and the year before he played in all 82 games. Since his career began in 2010, the Ohio State alum has endured just six absences. That's how many games Russell Westbrook has missed this MONTH.
Kemba Walker, PG, Charlotte Bobcats
Walker isn't perfect but his attendance is. Seriously, look it up. The dude's never missed a game in the pros OR in college. That's a span of 297 games in a row without a break. Look out Cal Ripken!
While Griffin and others have played through the pain, many players have done the exact opposite. Here are a few ticking time bombs just waiting to go off.
Andrea Bargnani, F/C, New York Knicks
Don't be fooled by Bargnani's absence-free first half of the season. The injury-prone seven-footer missed 47 games last season and another 35 in 2011-12. When the Knicks need him most, Bargnani's body will crumble. Just wait.
Andrew Bogut, C, Golden State Warriors
So far, Bogut has held it together in 2013-14 (just one missed game) but his long history of injuries suggests he'll break down at some point. The former No. 1 pick was sidelined for 50 games last season, which was actually fewer than the amount he missed in 2011-12 (54 absences). Tick, tick.
Shaun Livingston, PG, Brooklyn Nets
Some people look at Livingston and see a lanky point guard with a knack for scoring. All I see is Livingston lying on the ground screaming in pain after tearing his ACL in 2007. I know that was seven years ago but you never know when Livingston's knee will give out again. I just know I don't want to be there when it does.
Kevin Love, PF, Minnesota Timberwolves
Simply put, fantasy owners are in love with Love. But have you looked at his medical records recently? Though he's only missed one game in 2013-14, injuries limited the high-scoring forward to just 18 games last season. Since entering the league in 2008, Love has played 75 games or more exactly one time. That doesn't bode well for the second half.
Anderson Varejao, C, Cleveland Cavaliers
If you've ever seen Varejao play, you know that he goes all out. That's admirable but playing that way can take a toll on your body, as evidenced by the 149 DNPs Varejao has piled up since 2010. He hasn't missed a game yet this season but that doesn't mean much. Sooner or later, Varejao will get hurt. And foolish fantasy owners will be forced to live with the consequences.
How do you like them apples?
01/14 18:05:48 ET