After that brutal Gordon Hayward ankle injury from opening night in the NBA, we started thinking about gruesome injuries that seriously derailed promising careers.  Let’s take a look at the most debilitating and career-crushing injuries that shocked the NBA.  Some players have all the talent, all the intangibles but their body just can’t hold up to the physical pounding of an NBA season.

Brandon Roy

There was so much hype and hope behind Trail Blazers guard Brandon Roy, and rightfully so, the guy could ball.  His only issue was his knees, which caused him to miss significant time during his shortened NBA career.  He was playing great, making all-star teams and all defensive honors, but a degenerative knee issue ended his shot at greatness.

Yao Ming

The great hope from China was just too big for his body to handle.  Like many tall men, his feet and knees eventually gave out on him, that is a lot of pressure on those joints.  The 7-6 center was huge on many levels, his playing ability, sheer size and marketability, just a shame his body fell apart.

Grant Hill

This one hurts because he could’ve been considered one of the greatest of all time but his ankles never held up.  Because of his numerous injuries, he was able to play for many years, but he only played a few full seasons.  His legacy will always be intertwined with his injuries, which is a real shame.  That and the fact he played for Duke, yuk!

Amare Stoudamire

This guy had leaping ability like I have never seen before, but he proved that he was great because of that ability and little more.  like most jumpers, he eventually landed awkwardly and injuries derailed a promising career.  That micro-fracture injury he had is possible the worst for jumpers and he had two.


Greg Oden

Oden was touted as the next great big man and his skill set backed that up, too bad nobody told his feet. The guy had the worst foot issues in the history of the NBA and yet he still managed a title, while riding the pine for the Heat.  When it wasn’t his feet it was his knees, pretty similar story to may big men in the league.

Anfernee “Penny” Hardaway

Once touted as the next Magic Johnson, Penny was a freak athlete and a magician with the ball.  I’ve never seen someone jump onto the scene with as much gusto as he had but a string of brutal injuries sidelined him and his promising career.  Remember how good his commercials were, what a shame?

Jay Williams

This is a cautionary tale more about Motorcycles and how dangerous they can be than basketball injuries, but it still applies.  Jay was supposed to be the next great point guard and he started out on fire, then it all came crashing down, literally.  He crashed his motorcycle into a streetlight causing serious nerve damage to his leg, and he never played again which was a real shame.