The NBA playoffs have taken a turn for the worse in the past week after injuries to superstars such as Chris Paul, Steph Curry, and Blake Griffin has robbed fans of the opportunity to watch the game's best players go head to head.
Injuries are part and parcel of sport and are a regular occurrence which, in the case of the L.A. Clippers, can end hopes of winning a championship in one fell swoop.
One team who can sympathise with the Clippers are the Cleveland Cavaliers, who saw injuries to Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love in the postseason last year limit their chances of bringing a first NBA title to the city, despite LeBron James doing everything he could in the finals to make it happen.
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Love dislocated his shoulder in the first round against the Boston Celtics and Irving fractured a kneecap in game one of the finals against the Golden State Warriors and the All-Star guard, who is healthy and having a great postseason thus far, knows the feeling that Curry and Paul are going through at the moment.
“I'm watching TV and I'm seeing CP come out and you could tell he's really frustrated and Steph goes down on a freakish play that could have happened to anyone but he's already coming back from the ankle sprain and he comes out and sprains his MCL and that's just ... it just sucks, it absolutely sucks,” Irving said after practice Wednesday.
“To be out for the series or out for a number of weeks, especially at the highest level of intensity of basketball that we've played basically in our whole entire lives is what it all boils down to in the regular season, definitely you've got to empathise with those guys.
“But, at the end of the day they still have other guys in that locker room that have to pick up the pieces and they have to figure it out. It's just part of the playoffs.”
Kyrie and the Cavs may have a feeling of empathy but they know that basketball doesn't stop and once you go out onto the court, there will be nobody feeling sorry for you as the Warriors showed in defeating the Wine and Gold 4-2 in the 2014-15 finals.
The Cavaliers have a fully healthy roster after a first-round sweep of the Detroit Pistons and have afforded themselves extra rest because of it which can only help their efforts to make another deep run in the postseason.
Golden State were labelled as 'lucky' for facing a number of teams with injuries in a last year's playoffs whilst being fortunate with health themselves. They now their first real moment of adversity without their MVP and Irving stresses the importance of staying healthy is to competing for a championship.
“That’s what it’s about,” Irving said. “It’s a lot of luck. Guys just doing work in the weight room, staying ready every single game and doing whatever is possible so if something does happen you have a clear conscience, you can look yourself in the mirror and say you did everything possible to be as healthy as you could be for that time and that game and living in that moment. That’s the only thing that matters.
"Now if something happens, it happens. For us it’s just continuing to maintain our work in the weight room and on the court.”