7 NBA stars we can't wait to return

Rappler lists the players we are most looking forward to returning to the court, after they were plagued by injuries

Josiah Israel Albelda
Updated 1:25 PM, Nov 16, 2012

MANILA, Philippines - The basketball-crazed nation of the Philippines could hardly wait when the NBA 2012-2013 season began.

Would Miami Heat win its second consecutive championship? Would the Los Angeles Lakers, with its incredible acquisitions, come out on top? And how about all those shocking trades that added spice to the league fans so adore?

There are many reasons for the understandable excitement of the basketball fans in the country. But Rappler for one, is also excited to see players we miss because of injuries, return to the court and bring their A-game.

Here are 7 of the players we are most excited to see return at some point this season.

1) Kevin Love, Minnesota Timberwolves
Injury: Broken right hand
Projected return: Early December
2011-12 stats: 26.0 points, 13.3 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 0.9 steals, 44.8% FG

Love broke his right hand while working out almost a month ago, a freak injury that will keep the sweet-shooting rebounding machine on the shelf until December. Thankfully for the Timberwolves’ fans, their crew has held up and currently sit at second in the Northwest, just half-a-game behind 2011 finalists Oklahoma City.

2) Derrick Rose, Chicago Bulls
Injury: Torn ACL
Projected return: Mid- to late January
2011-12 stats: 21.8 points, 3.4 rebounds, 7.9 assists, 0.9 steals, 43.5% FG

Just after copping the MVP plum in 2010, Rose has plunged into a string of injuries, only managing to play a little over half of his team’s games last season before tearing his ACL in the playoffs. The high-leaping guard will be out for at least a couple of months from now and his Bulls need to hold their campaign together until their superstar gets back.

3) Andrew Bynum, Philadelphia 76ers
Injury: Bruised right knee
Projected return: Late December to early January
2011-12 stats: 18.7 points, 11.8 rebounds, 1.4 assists, 1.9 blocks, 55.8% FG

Last season, Bynum seemed to buck the injury bug that has bitten him throughout this career and was able to play in 60 of the Lakers’ 66 outings. That is not the case in Philadelphia, however, as the big man has suffered a bone bruise that has kept him out of basketball for the past two months.

4) Dirk Nowitzki, Dallas Mavericks
Injury: Right knee surgery
Projected return: Early to mid-December
2011-12 stats: 21.6 points, 6.8 rebounds, 2.2 assists, 0.7 steals, 45.7% FG

After a so-so 2010-11 campaign and with the Mavs undergoing another reboot, the former MVP finally decided to have surgery on the right knee that has been bothering him for quite some time. He’s not cleared for on-court activity until late this month and would probably return to action a week or two after that.

5) John Wall, Washington Wizards
Injury: Left patella stress
Projected return: Early December
2011-12 stats: 16.3 points, 4.5 rebounds, 8.0 assists, 1.4 steals, 42.3% FG

Wall was expected to bounce back in his third year after slipping a little bit in his sophomore campaign. So it’s quite discouraging that after the Wizards surrounded him with talent and a backcourt sidekick in Bradley Beal, Wall had to be shelved due stress on his left patella.

6) Eric Gordon, New Orleans Hornets
Injury: Right knee soreness
Projected return: Early to mid-December
2011-12 stats: 20.6 points, 2.8 rebounds, 3.4 assists, 1.4 steals, 45.0% FG

Oh, Gordon. Touted as the NBA’s next superstar shooting guard, Gordon regressed into a damaged cager who’s managed to just play nine of his team’s last 71 games. The Hornets need him to be the productive scorer he once was, especially now that he just signed a four-year $58-million max contract with New Orleans.

7) Ricky Rubio, Minnesota Timberwolves
Injury: Torn ACL
Projected return: Late December to early January
2011-12 stats: 10.6 points, 4.2 rebounds, 8.2 assists, 2.2 steals, 35.7% FG

The Spanish point guard has been making heads turn with his sensational play last season before falling to an unfortunate ACL tear in a game against the Lakers. Rubio has been doing well in rehab and though we don't expect him to be at full-strength right away, look for Rubio to resume with his flashy style of play once he gets back on court. - Rappler.com

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