Tomorrow is the Fourth of July, a day when you get to celebrate freedom by setting things on fire and blowing them up...just like our founding fathers intended when they won our independence from the Nazis. (Thank you, Abraham Lincoln!) But before you do that, read this. It may not be freedom, but it's the next best thing.
BJ Tyler: According to Wikipedia: "Prior to the 1995-96 NBA season, Tyler was selected by the Toronto Raptors in the 1995 expansion draft. According to journalist Chris Young's book Drive, Tyler accidentally fell asleep with a pack of ice on his knee, severely damaging it and thus losing all the speed for which he was famed, and subsequently had to retire." Yeah, right. He just didn't want to play for the Raptors. Vince Carter feels him on that one. [Thanks to siukong for the head's up.]
Brad Miller: The former Boilermaker Miller needed nine stitches in his right index finger after almost chopping it off with a knife while doing dishes last season...on the same day he was named Western Conference Player of the Week for the second time in his career. Said Miller: "It's the last time I help do dishes." Said teammate Mikki Moore: "When I saw him, it was all wrapped up. So, I said, 'You're going to drop 20 and 20 in two games and then go and cut your knuckle off?' I said, 'That's real smart, Brad.' He said, 'Nah, that's my luck.'" [Thanks to Josh from The Garbagetime All-Stars for the reminder.]
Charles Barkley: Sir Charles has never been easy on the eyes...not even his own. Chuck missed the Phoenix Suns' 1994-95 season opener because the first layers of his corneas got burned off by body lotion during an Eric Clapton concert. Apparently, allergies and the dazzling stage lights caused him to rub his eyes, and he got lotion in them.
Conrad McRae: During the 1998-99 season, the Denver Nuggets signed McRae to a 10-day contract. Contrad, who was unaccustomed to the thin air in the high altitude of Denver, fainted while doing some pre-game sprints. He was treated by paramedics and did not play in that night's game for precautionary reasons.
Sad extra: McRae's fainting caused Denver's medical staff to evaluate him further and discovered that he had a heart condition and advised him that he should not play basketball again. He ignored that advice and died in June 2000 during a basketball practice.
Dajuan Wagner: He missed missed thirty-five games during his rookie year due to what was thought to be a bladder infection. He missed another thirty-eight games during his sophomore season due to an inflamed pancreas and liver. Then, 11 games into his third season, Wagner started suffering stomach cramps and the doctors thought it was just another bladder infection. Turns out it was colitis, and that's what had been causing all his problems. He had the colon removed and missed another seventy-one games. That was pretty much the end of Dajuan's career; he tried to make a comeback, but his team (the Golden State Warriors) simply bought out his contract. (Note: I started writing this one when I thought it was simply a bladder infection. Then I found out about the colitis and just left it in. Not really a dumn injury, per se.)
Darko Milicic: Ah, Darko, Darko, Darko. He was put in for what was described as a "token" appearance in the Pistons' Game 5 blowout of the Lakers in the 2004 NBA Finals (what we here at Basketbawful like to call the human victory cigar). He played 2 minutes, finishing with 1 rebound, 1 steal, 1 turnover...and 1 broken hand. Oh yes he did. The injury required surgury and sidelines him for eight weeks. (Thanks Harpreet.)
Derrick Coleman: Coleman -- whose NBA career was limited and cut short due to laziness, character issues, a giant fat ass, and, of course, injury problems -- got injured again, only this time it happened while filming an episode of the TV show Pros vs. Joes. DC was participating in a rebounding challenge against some "average joe" when he came down from a jump and landed awkwardly, hurting his always-troublesome knee. This means that Coleman has the dubious distinction of being the first Pro to ever get injured during battle with a Joe.
Derrick Rose: The Bulls rookie was forced to miss some practice time because, get ready for it, he cut himself under the elbow on his left forearm. In bed. From a knife he used to slice an apple. Said Rose: "Silly accident this morning. I went to get a bottle of water, forgot the knife was there and sat down and sliced my arm. I panicked when it first happened. I called [Bulls trainer Fred Tedeschi]. We got it stitched up about 8 [a.m.]. It was a large wound, but they healed it up. I'm good. I could have practiced, but they told me to wait until [today]. I can still dribble, shoot, do all that stuff. I'm hoping they'll let me play."
Of course, a lot of people are already questioning what "really" happened, since Rose's story sounds too bizarre to be true (kind of like the time I got run over by a horse while riding my bike). But, in my experience, it's the weird stories that totally ARE true. And Rose isn't worried about what other people think. "It's the truth, so I'm not worried about [people not believing him]. I called my mom, and she was like, what are you doing? It was just a freak accident. I was very scared. I'm going to get somebody else to cut [the apple]. I'm not cutting it no more." Ah, to live in a world where, after a freak apple-cutting accident, you can respond not by simply being more careful next time, but by hiring someone to peel apples for you for the rest of your life. Awesome.
Drew Gooden: In March of 2004, Gooden -- then with the Orlando Magic -- was hospitalized with what was thought to be a spider bite. Turns out it was a MRSA infection resulting from infected hair follicles on his leg. The infection was repeatedly drained and he needed three days of intravenous drug treatment.
I know it's tempting to laugh about this, but MRSA is a dangerous antibiotic-resistant infection that has been dubbed "the Superbug" in England. So if somebody you know gets a leg hair infection, do not laugh at them. Okay, you can laugh a little bit.
Dwyane Wade: I'm not saying the man wasn't hurt -- he was hurt really badly -- but people (like me) are still wondering why he needed to be taken off the court in a wheelchair for a shoulder injury. I guess the leg bone is connected to the arm bone...
Eddy Curry: E-City had to miss a game due to a badly sprained left ankle suffered at...a walk-through at his team's morning shoot-around. Nope. I'm not kidding. Said teammate Malik Rose: "How do you explain something like that?" Good question. A very good question.
Eddy Curry (again): Speaking of good questions, here's another: Can a player suffer a more embarrassing injury than spraining his ankle during a walk-through? Well, the answer is "yes" my friends. From the New York Daily News: "Poor Eddy Curry. He sat on the giant blue physioball during a break from Monday's practice and the ball exploded. Eddy fell and scraped and his wrist but should be okay. The ball, which is used for stretching exercises, was pronounced dead at the scene." This also answers the classic "How do you know when you're too fat?" question. I thought those balls were indestructible.
Francisco Garcia: He broke his arm...on a physioball. No, really. At least he wasn't so fat it exploded on him...
George McCloud: Prior to Game 3 of the 1992 first round playoff series between the Indiana Pacers and the Boston Celtics, McCloud "held his ankle in a funny way" while talking on the phone. This somehow injured the ankle so badly he couldn't play in the game and had to sit on the bench in street clothes as his team got eliminated. [Thanks to 80s NBA for the reminder; this was actually one of my painful Pacers playoff moments.]
Gilbert Arenas: File this one under "unfortunate pube shaving accidents." Very unfortunate. I'll let Agent Zero tell the tale: "When I was new in the NBA the team veterans convinced me to shave, you know, down there, because they said the hair stinks. I used my girlfriend's razor, which was rusty and gave me keloids. The doctor prescribed medicine to dab on, but I just poured it all over. Three days later I woke up screaming. The skin was burnt off my scrotum, down to my crack, everything -- just raw flesh. I still had to run and play, so I used a numbing spray for a month until it healed. Now I use clippers." I bet he does. [Thanks to The Brazilian Guy for this one.]
Jeff Ruland: After the 1985-86 season, the Philadelphia 76ers decided to flush their future down the toilet by trading the first pick in the NBA draft -- which became Brad Daugherty -- to Cleveland for Roy Hinson. Since that didn't do nearly enough damage, they also sent Moses Malone to Washington in exchange for Ruland. Moses went on to average 24 PPG and 11 RPG for the Bullets, while Ruland played only five games for the Sixers before getting sidelined with a variety of foot and knee injuries.
Ruland was out of action for five years but attempted to return for the 1991-92 season. However, the comeback ended because of...a luggage cart. Yes, a luggage cart, which was (allegedly) rammed into Ruland's leg by a Celtics employee as he waited for a team bus outside Boston Garden. (It should be noted that Ruland was not a popular in Boston, and he was even nicknamed "McNasty" by the Celtics' late great broadcaster Johnny Most.)
Said Ruland: "I got run over by a luggage cart. That's hard to swallow. It can't be accidental, they were moving too fast. Whoever could foresee anything like this happening?"
John Starks: Oh my God. I've been laughing about this one for about five minutes. Thank you, Sturla, for bringing this joy back into my life. (Although I'm sure Starks would punch me for it.) Back in 2001, Starks suffered -- wait for it...wait for it -- a twisted testicle! No, I am not making this up. The scientific term for this is testicular torsion, and it happens when the spermatic cord that provides the blood supply to a testicle is twisted, cutting off the blood supply, often causing orchalgia (that is, intense pain in the nutsack). Prolonged testicular torsion will result in the death of the testicle and surrounding tissues. Starks had to undergo a procedure to "open up and untwist the testicle." Ouch.
Kendrick Perkins: Boston's big man missed time last season due to a right big toe that was injured when he dropped a bed on it. "I was asleep. I guess whoever put my bed together didn't put it together right when I moved, so one side of my bed fell. My bed was tilted, so I got out of my bed to go push down on the other side. And when I was about getting ready to push down on the other side, the headboard started coming in. So I tried to push the headboard back so it wouldn't fall over. My foot was under the bed and the other side of the bed fell on my foot." Man, I hate it when that happens.
Kevin Johnson: During the mid-90s, KJ won a regular season game on a buzzer-beating shot and received a crippling bear hug from teammate Charles Barkley. And I mean "crippling" in the literal sense. Chuck squeezed Kevin so hard his shoulder was dislocated. (At least Barkley didn't rub any body lotion in KJ's eyes.) Unlike Dwyane Wade, Kevin didn't have to be carted off teh court in a wheelchair, but he was out of action for the next two weeks. KJ also had hernia surgery in 1996 after years of abdominal problems that were allegedly brought on by picking up teammate Oliver Miller to celebrate a play.
Kobe Bryant: He hurt his back. Vacuuming. But he says it's because of vacuum size discrimination. Seriously. Watch the video. [Thanks to rich muhlach for this one.]
Larry Bird: In the fall of 1988, Bird was attempting a comeback from dual-Achilles surgery when he permenantly injured in his back. How? He was undercut by Michael Jordan, who then fell on Bird...in the Kenny Rogers Charity Basketball Tournament in Kentucky. According to his second autobiography, Bird Watching: On Playing and Coaching The Game I Love, Bird said: "We were in the final minutes of this charity basketball game when I went up for a rebound and came down a little sideways. Michael Jordan was going for the ball too, and he landed on my back. Right away I knew I was in trouble. I had torn additional portions of the disc wall, and my back was really traumatized. I didn't know it then, all the way back in 1989, but that was the beginning of the end…I never came all the way back." Yet another reason I hate Michael Jordan.
Latrell Sprewell: The man who once choked his coach broke his hand by taking a swing at the boyfriend of a female party guest who threw up on his yacht. But it seems that Spree's punches were roughly as accurate as his jumpers (42 percent lifetime): He whiffed and punched the wall instead. Sprewell tried to cover up the incident, but some of his guests leaked the story and the Knicks fined Spree $250,000 for not reporting the injury. Sprewell, ever the victim, complained about it to the press. "They talk about being a family but they're not sticking with me. The biggest thing to me is that I'm hurt. So don't kick me when I'm down." But...but that's the best time to kick somebody!
Lionel Simmons: The L-Train was an absolutely amazing basketball player. In college. He finished third in all-time NCAA scoring with 3,217 points, trailing only only Pete Maravich and Freeman Williams. He also won both the Naismith College Player of the Year award and the John R. Wooden Award. His NBA career, on the other hand, was barely more than decent. But Lionel's greatest contribution to the pro game was the injury he suffered during the 1990-91 season: He missed two games with wrist tendonitis caused by overtraining on his Nintendo Game Boy. I can only hope he defeated King Koopa and saved the Princess.
Luc Longley: During the 1996-97 season, the Bulls lost Longley's services for seven weeks after he got hurt body surfing. Yeah. Luc was body-surfing off the coast of Los Angeles coast when an unexpectedly strong wave drove him shoulder-first into the ocean floor and knocked his clavicle and shoulder out of place.
Michael Jordan: Yep, even MJ has a place on this list. Although he was already kinda sorta unofficially retired (again), Jordan severed a tendon in his right index finger (i.e., on his shooting hand) while using a cigar cutter in January 1999. Officially listed as a "a laceration of the flexor tendon," Jordan needed surgery to repair it and six weeks of occupational therapy to rehabilitate it.
Monta Ellis: Shortly after inking a six-year, $66 million dollar contract extension, Ellis torpedoed Golden State's 2008-09 season when he tore a ligament in his left ankle and sustained a high-ankle sprain in a "low-speed" mo-ped accident. So not only did he screw his team over, he lost serious Man Points for getting injured not only on a mo-ped...but while driving said mo-ped at low speeds. Oh, the fail.
Moochie Norris: In March of 1999, Moochie -- who was given his nickname by his grandfather, who loved the Cab Calloway song Minnie the Moocher -- asked his team (the Seattle SuperSonics) to put him on the injured list because of insomnia. Apparently, Mooch had suffered from insomnia since his mother had died of cancer in 1989, and he (supposedly) only got about two hours of sleep on most nights. The Sonics weren't fond of that excuse, so a few days later they waived Moochie to make room for John Crotty. Yes, John Crotty.
Mo Williams:Mo missed a game against the Pacers last season with pubic symphysitis. (Editor's note: That's an injury to the pubic symphysis, which is a cartilaginous joint above the man region.) I have no idea how you injure this sensitive joint, but surgically cutting it allows more of the penis to hang outside the body, thereby increasing its length. I'm not trying to insinuate that Mo had elective surgery to make his dong longer, but...no, actually, that's kind of what I'm insinuating.
Muggsy Bogues: The tiny, tiny man (who was playing for the Toronto Raptors) missed the second half of a game against the Portland Trailblazers after accidentally sucking in some ointment fumes during a halftime treatment. ("Ointment fumes"...so that's what the kids are calling it these days? I guess I should double-check with Josh Howard.) Said Bogues: "Never happened to me before and I hope it never happens again. That was one of those fluke things you don't even dream about."
Ron Artest: Ron-Ron threw his back out of whack...driving his wife's Mercedes. This is apparently what happens when you stuff an extra-large body into an extra-small space.
Ruben Patterson: This entry harkens back to 2003, during Portland's infamous "Jail Blazer" era. Patterson ended up with a shiny black eye thanks to a five-knuckeled "hello" from teammate Zach Randolph. Patterson, who earlier that season had been arrested on suspicion of domestic assault, was arguing with Qyntel Woods, who himself had been recently cited by Portland police on marijuana possession charges after a traffic stop, when Randolph stepped in and sucker-punched Patterson. While, it should be noted, Patterson was being restrained by teammates. Nice, huh? Patterson then promised not to retaliate...until his probation expired in May (it was April at the time). Good times all around. (Thanks to Dunpizzle.)
Scott Williams: While playing for the Chicago Bulls during the Michael Jordan-less 1993-94 season, Williams had a string of bizarre injuries. First, he missed four days of practice after straining his shoulder at the team's annual bowling outing. A few days later, he hurt his back lifting a TV he bought on sale. Then, later in the season, he injured a tendon behind his right kneecap while stretching, and that was the end of his season. That kind of injury proneness would make even Bill Walton wince.
Tony Allen:He blew out his knee -- tearing both the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) and medial collateral ligament (MCL) -- while trying to throw one down after the whistle had blown. That's a direct message from the Basketball Gods, and it can be interpreted as: "Thou shalt not showboat, mortal fool!" Oh, and the worst part (as several people have pointed out)? He blew the dunk. Video below. [You can thank LooseChange and her amazing brain for this one.]
Vladimir Radmanović: In February of 2007, Radmanović separated his shoulder falling on a patch of ice in Park City, Utah. Or so he claimed. But a few days later, Radmanović admitted that he had actually hurt himself in a fall while snowboarding. Said the Radman: "The truth is that I hurt myself in a fall while snowboarding. Being young and sometimes immature, I initially panicked and made up a false story about how I hurt myself. However, over the past few days my conscience has been bothering me terribly. I am not a dishonest person and could no longer live with this deception. Therefore, I came forward today and told the truth to the Lakers." Mind you, his contract specifically banned him from taking part in activities that involve significant risk of injury, including skiing and snowboarding. The space cadet was fined $500,000 for his stupidity. [Many thanks to plonden for jogging my memory on this one.]