SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 29TH, 2020
Many athletes start their career with high expectations for their time in the professional leagues. However, several obstacles stand in the way of these players before they can succeed. Specifically, injuries can either alter a once-promising career or simply be another hurdle for stars to clear on their way to fame.

Derick Rose: Torn ACL

Derrick Rose was heralded as Chicago’s savior after a decade-long exercise in futility the basketball legend Michael Jordan entered his second retirement. He appeared to be the one to lead Chicago to the promised land.

Rose became an all-star in just his second season; in 2011, Rose lead the Bulls to the number 1 seed and an Eastern Conference Finals berth.  That same year, Rose would go on to earn the title of Most Valuable Player (MVP.)

After a devastating injury in Philadelphia, Rose sat out for an entire season before slowly re-entering professional play. Unfortunately for Rose, just one month after he was cleared to play, he tore his meniscus in his right knee; this injury kept him out for the majority of yet another season.

During the next two seasons, Rose played sparingly, as the Bulls had replaced their star with a new franchise player: Jimmy Butler. Now, after three consecutive years marred by four major injuries, Rose plays on the New York Knicks.

Amare Stoudemire: Knee Injury

Drafted in 2002 to save a struggling Phoenix Suns franchise, Amare Stoudemire made a name for himself as one of the best prep-to-pro prospects since Kobe Bryant. When Steve Nash arrived from Dallas to team up with Stoudemire in Phoenix, the new recruit blossomed into a bona fide superstar, averaging 26 points per game and making his first All-Star game. Nash and Stoudemire teamed up to help Phoenix achieve the best record in the National Basketball association (NBA.)

After microfracture surgery on his knee, Stoudemire was benched for the majority of the 2006 season before he returned in 2007. Aided by the presence of Steve Nash, Stoudemire continued to be a star forward for the Suns, making five consecutive All-Star teams. Later, Stoudemire signed with the Knicks in free agency. After one strong season in New York as the leader of the team, Stoudemire crumbled emotionally and physically, and his game deteriorated. Stoudemire spent the rest of his days bouncing around the league before retiring this summer.

Paul George: Broken Leg

Coming out of mid-major program Fresno State, Paul George appeared to be the perfect “rags to riches” story as he gradually earned more playing time before bursting out in the 2013 NBA season to earn his first All-Star appearance.

The next year, George emerged as a multi-dimensional superstar, leading his Indiana Pacers to the Eastern Conference Finals. There, they went toe-to-toe with the defending champion Miami Heat.

After George snapped his leg at Team USA tryouts over the summer, he sat out nearly the entire 2014-2015 season. There the Pacers struggled severely without his guidance.

Luckily for Indiana, George bounced back in spectacular fashion the next year, achieving career highs in points, assists and games played. Lacking many of the players on his 2014 team, George carried the Pacers to the playoffs before losing in the first round. George then went on to feature as a dominant player in the 2016 Rio Olympics.

Robert Griffin: ACL Injury

Robert Griffin III appeared to be an upcoming football star, winning a Heisman trophy in college. The Washington Redskins drafted Griffin second overall in the 2012 draft, and it looked as if they had made the right choice.

Griffin’s unique combination of size and speed stymied National Football League (NFL) defenders, as he threw for over 3000 yards and rushed for over 800 in his first year. As a reward, Griffin won the Rookie of the Year award.

Griffin’s aggravated injury forced him to miss the offseason, and he struggled in his 2013 return, eventually being benched to prevent further injury. In 2014, Griffin missed half the season due to a fractured ankle. Griffin failed to live up to his rookie expectations once again.

The next year, Griffin suffered a preseason concussion, and was replaced by Kirk Cousins. The result of Cousins kept Griffin on the bench even after he had recovered. Griffin is now on Injured Reserve for the Cleveland Browns.

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