As the Los Angeles Clippers know all to well, freak injuries can deter destiny and derail an NBA season.
On Halloween eve at Staples Center, Lob City got the greatest fright of the holiday season when it's rim-rattling, shot-blocking, high-energy center left the game against the Utah Jazz with a thumb injury in the third quarter.
DeAndre Jordan collided with Jazz guard George Hill in the Clippers home opener and appeared to catch his thumb on Hill's hand. The 6-foot, 11-inch center lurched over in immediate pain and had to exit the court to get x-rays.
"Man, I tried to get the ball and I had it and then George hit my hand," Jordan said after the incident. "I thought it was broken. I was in so much pain."
His coach and teammates were also worried as their star center headed back to the locker room.
"I was worried because I saw the swelling," Doc Rivers told reporters in a postgame press conference after the game. "When it's that quick, that's never a good thing. When he went back in, it started to feel a little better."
Jordan returned to the game, but the injury clearly affected the Clippers big man as he struggled from the field.
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LA fell victim to the NBA's schedule as they had a tight turnaround, playing again on Halloween on the second night of a back-to-back.
Jordan was wearing a small pad on the thumb during pregame warmups and appeared to have reinjured the thumb early in the first quarter.
After the game, a lopsided 116-198 victory over the Phoenix Suns, Jordan, who typically does not like to miss any time or discuss injuries, played coy with the media.
"Uhhh, I don't remember," stuttered Jordan when asked about how his thumb felt during the game.
Jordan continued to avoid the question, even turning to teammate Chris Paul during the interview to ask him what he was doing on his phone. Finally, after a little bit of poking and prodding, Jordan addressed the injury.
"I feel great," he said smiling. "It was a scary play. I really want to play basketball and I don't want to miss any games. My teammates were on me to get it taken care of, but I'm fine."
The Clippers are no strangers to scary injuries as the team famously lost both Chris Paul (broken finger) and Blake Griffin (torn quadriceps) within minutes of each other in Game 3 of the NBA Western Conference playoffs last season.
LA was leading the best-of-seven series over the Portland Trailblazers, 2-0, at the time of the injuries, but without two of their best players, they lost the next four games and their season—along with their NBA title hopes—vanished in the blink of an eye.
Before that, Griffin suffered a broken hand earlier in the 2015-2016 season when he punched a team equipment manager at a restaurant in Toronto. The injury cost the All-Star two months of the season, and may have hurt the team's chances of a higher playoff seed.
Thankfully, Jordan did not suffer the same fate as his teammates and x-rays on Monday were negative for any fractures or breaks. The injury has been diagnosed as a sprained thumb and there did not appear to be any ramifications on the court.
Jordan had his best game of the season by far in the Halloween matchup, as he scorched the Suns for 19 points, 11 rebounds and two blocks. Additionally, Jordan had his best shooting night of the young season, going 8-for-10 from the field.
"I thought he played pretty aggressive, I didn't think he was hesitant at all and that was good," added Rivers of what he saw from Jordan and the injury. "I was worried about that going into the game, but he wasn't hesitant. This was his best game by far."
DeAndre Jordan avoids talking about his thumb, before finally discussing the "scary moment" that could have derailed the #Clippers season pic.twitter.com/Q1re5W0Oie — Michael J. Duarte (@michaeljduarte) November 1, 2016