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NBA Injuries: The Utah Jazz have had a remarkable season so far, despite injuries

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Injuries aren't always an excuse. In this case, they kind of are.

Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

After 60 games this season the Utah Jazz are sitting in 9th place. They have lost four games in a row and are 2.5 games out of the NBA Playoffs, if they were to start today. This wasn't the situation most of us fans were hoping for this year. Playoffs were one of our goals, even if the front office didn't state it openly, and that may still happen. But some of us were looking at 45 wins and possibly a 6th or 7th seed. Utah has a chance to hold on, but right now they are four games below .500, and are almost as close to the playoffs as the #10th seed is to them (2.5 games vs. 3.0 games). Nothing is for certain, but there has been one constant throughout the season: injuries.

Utah has had a lot of them. So much so that we don't know what this team is capable of 60 games into the season because this team hasn't been whole for a long time. Even on the theoretical eve of an Alec Burks return, the team has a shook-up Rodney Hood to content with. And while newcomer Shelvin Mack has been a steadying influence on this young club, none of us will forget the "what if" had Dante Exum been healthy all season long. Anyway, here's how the team looks when broken down on what they were doing each game of the season.

2015 2016 Utah Jazz Player Games Played DNPCD Injury G60

Gordon Hayward? He's been the rock. But Derrick Favors and Rudy Gobert both missed about 1/3rd of the season, with some overlap. A whopping zero from Dante in games played this season makes our starting line-up less than stable for sure. It's hard to be the 7th seed with that type of decimation. On the bench Alec Burks missing more than half the season has been tough, this means more playing time for Chris Johnson, and he's just not a guy who is going to make you forget Burks' scoring punch.

If you break it down this is how much of the season the Top 6 players have missed (rounding up and down):

  • Exum: 6 out of 6
  • Hood: 0 out of 6
  • Hayward: 0 out of 6
  • Favors: 2 out of 6
  • Gobert: 2 out of 6
  • Burks: 3 out of 6

That's 13 units out of 36 total. That's over 35% of the season in this simplistic view. If your Top 6 guys miss 35% of the season and you're still a playoff team you have to have some hope.

The only other really notable thing is what's been up with Jeff Withey and Tibor Pleiss. Both have racked up a bunch of DNP-CDs, which is odd when you factor in that Favors and Gobert have missed 1/3rd of the season each. Or, perhaps, they just would have gotten MORE DNP-CDs if everyone was healthy?

Now, I know I'm complaining about injuries a lot here. And this isn't the worst ever season for injuries (2004-2005 probably is). But this is ridiculous.

But as ridiculous as it is, I still think this team makes the playoffs. The next 22 games will validate this point of view.