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Boston Celtics v Charlotte Hornets

Source: Streeter Lecka / Getty

The NBA season just started and star player Gordon Hayward is already out after suffering a leg and ankle fracture just a few minutes into a game against the Cleveland Cavaliers. Opposing player LeBron James gave Hayward some words of encouragement as Dwyane Wade prayed for him, and Kyrie Irving stayed on the court in disbelief.

But gruesome injuries are nothing new, and neither are triumphant comebacks. CASSIUS rounded up some of the most gruesome sports injuries in modern history and explored how the athletes took advantage of the chance for a fresh start.

Paul George, Indiana Pacers

Cleveland Cavaliers v Indiana Pacers - Game Four

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What sucks about Paul George’s injury is that it wasn’t even during a NBA game, but during a USA Basketball Showcase. Back in August of 2014, George was getting back on defense early in the fourth quarter as James Harden went up for an easy lay up. His foot landed awkwardly between the hardwood and the base of the hoop, and he fractured his leg in two places. The injury was so bad that head coach Mike Krzyzewski told the arena that the game would be forfeited out of respect. George returned to the Pacers in March and never lost a step. He went on to make the Olympic team in 2016 and has since joined the Oklahoma City Thunder alongside Melo and reigning MVP Russell Westbrook.

See the injury here.


Marcus Lattimore, University of South Carolina

Tennessee v South Carolina

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The University of South Carolina running back caught a bad break early in the college football season when he tore every ligament in his right knee and dislocated his kneecap in 2012. He missed the rest of the season, but still declared for the NFL the following December. Despite the nagging knee injury, the San Francisco 49ers picked him up on a four-year contract. He retired just two years later, citing knee problems. Today, he is the head football coach at Heathwood Hall Episcopal School in South Carolina.

Watch the injury.

Sid Vicious, Wrestler

Whether you call him Sid Vicious, Sid Justice, or Sycho Sid, he’s one of the most iconic wrestlers of all time, and his leg injury is just as well-known. During a match in 2001, Syd jumped from the turnbuckle, landed awkwardly, and broke the tibia and fibula in his left leg. “I had about a year left on my contract, and I was thinking back then prior to hurting my leg what was I going to do as far as wrapping up my career,” Syd said of the injury. After having a rod placed in his leg and using a cane to walk for a while, he continued to wrestle until his last match in August of 2017 where he bested Paul Rosenberg.

Watch the injury here.

Kevin Ware, University of  Louisville

Michigan v Louisville

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One of the drawbacks of playing in the age of Twitter: everyone winced as Ware’s leg injury popped up on their timelines. It happened during an Elite 8 game in 2013. Ware tried to block a three-pointer from Duke guard Tyler Thornton and ended up with an open fracture, as his bone was protruding several inches out of his leg. While writhing in pain, Ware repeatedly said, “I’m fine, just win the game.” The University of Louisville went on to win the NCAA championship and Ware has been playing in overseas basketball leagues ever since.

Watch the injury here.

Joe Theismann, Washington Washington Football Team

Washington Washington Football Team Quarterback Joe Theisman Playing Hard

Source: Bettmann / Getty

On November 18. 1985, New York Giants linebacker Lawrence Taylor ended Washington Football Team quarterback Joe Theismann’s career. LT came through with the sack and fractured Theismann’s leg. Washington was trying to run a flea flicker play, but the defense didn’t fall for it as LT’s knee drove right into Theismann’s right knee and fractured his tibia and fibula. “The pain was unbelievable, it snapped like a breadstick. It sounded like two muzzled gunshots off my left shoulder,” Theismann told the New York Times in a 2005 interview.

Watch the injury here.

Anderson Silva, UFC Fighter

UFC Ultimate Fighting Championship

Source: Tom Jenkins / Getty

Anderson Silva held the longest title reign in UFC History until Chris Weidman knocked him out. The two had a rematch at UFC 168 in December. Weidman checked one of Silva’s kicks, breaking Silva’s left fibula and tibia. He won his first post-recovery fight against Nick Diaz, but failed drug tests (which he blamed on a sexual enhancement drug that a friend sent to him from Thailand). After the controversy, he continues to dominate the competition and the 42-year-old has a bout with Kevin Gastelum scheduled for November 2017.

Watch the injury here.