Impact of fallen stars

Injuries to Wade, Rubio, Howard and Rose cloud 2012-13 projections

Updated: September 26, 2012, 1:56 PM ET
By Bradford Doolittle | Basketball Prospectus
Dwyane Wade, Derrick RoseUS PresswireInjuries to Dwyane Wade and Derrick Rose make forecasting wins and performance difficult.

It's with great anticipation that the 2012-13 NBA season approaches, free of all the labor-related disruptions of last fall and with lots of famous faces in new places. After a summer that included a draft, blockbuster trades and free-agent signings, the hierarchy of the league has been shuffled, and we're busy trying to figure out who has landed where.

Complicating the process is an unusual number of major injuries to upper-crust stars, including Derrick Rose, Dwight Howard, Ricky Rubio and Dwyane Wade. When will they return? How effective will they be? How will they hold up?

These aren't the type of questions we're really prepared to answer when it comes to generating statistical projections. But we do know this: Whenever the surgeon's scalpel slices the skin of a person dependent upon his body to earn a living, there are inherent risks and a fair amount of uncertainty.

Fortunately, as with so many things in the health industry, innovation follows the money and so sports medicine has made rapid advances since the days when the great Bernard King missed nearly two seasons in the mid-1980s after blowing out his knee. Players recover faster and retain more of their original athleticism than ever before.

That's good news for the four following NBA stars attempting to bounce back from injury: