Top 20 Most Devastating Injuries of 2018

By Ryan Finklestein - April 16, 2019

One injury in sports can change everything. It can change someone’s career, a team’s chances at making the playoffs or even ruin a player’s life altogether.

Like any other year, 2018 was filled with injuries as players across sports found themselves on the disabled list with various ailments and injuries.

This list of injuries is not only taking into factor how gruesome or severe an injury was, but also the impact that the injury had on a team’s season.

So, without further ado, take a look back at the 20 most devastating injuries of 2018.

20. Andre Roberson

This game was in the middle of last season and Andre Roberson suffered a ruptured patellar tendon that cost him the remainder of the season.

While he does not full up a box score, Roberson’s statistics are not a great indicator for his impact on the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Roberson brings most of his value on the defensive end of the floor, as he has been an All-Defensive performer in the past. Losing Roberson last year really hurt the Thunder defensively and is a big reason for their first-round exit in the 2018 NBA Playoffs.

19. Yoenis Cespedes

Yoenis Cespedes signed a four-year $110 million contract with the New York Mets following the 2016 season, since then he has only appeared 119 games.

In July it was announced that Cespedes had to have two separate surgeries on his heels to deal with the calcification in each heel which has led to a myriad of injuries over the years.

Cespedes may not return next season as the recovery time for the surgery is at least 8-10 months but could be more. There is a chance that Cespedes never makes his way back onto the field, leaving the Mets without the slugger that led them to the World Series in 2015.

18. Shohei Ohtani

Shohei Ohtani was set to be the best story in baseball in 2018, as the “Japanese Babe Ruth” who could hit you two home runs one night and pitch a complete game shutout in other.

Ohtani was living up to all of that hype too, as he had made 10 starts and pitched to 3.31 ERA, while hitting six home runs in the first two months of the season. Then the news came out that Ohtani had torn his UCL tendon and would require Tommy John surgery.

Ohtani was able to continue to hit, but he likely will not be able to pitch again until 2020 at the earliest.

17. Devonta Freeman

Devonta Freeman has dealt with various injuries during 2018, beginning with a knee injury and a foot injury. Freeman last appeared in a game in Week 5. Then it was announced that Freeman would require surgery to repair a groin injury and would miss the remainder of the season.

Without their starting running back, the Atlanta Falcons have struggled all season to win football games. Despite a two-game winning streak over the last couple of weeks, the Falcons are 6-9 and are on outside looking in when it comes to the playoffs.

16. A.J. Green

A.J. Green played the first eight weeks of the season for the Bengals and was having another great year. The Bengals were 5-3 with Green on the field at the start of the season and then they lost all four games when they lost him due to a toe injury.

Green returned in Week 13, but ended up tearing a ligament in that same toe which ended his season.

This season has proven more than ever how valuable Green is to the Bengals and without him they just can’t win games.

15. Will Fuller

Will Fuller was in the middle of a breakout season for the Houston Texans, starting opposite DeAndre Hopkins. Fuller had 32 catches for 503 yards and four touchdowns when he went down with an injury.

The news ended up being awful for Fuller and the Texans, as he tore his ACL and is out for the year. The Texans have championship aspirations which will be harder to reach without their up and coming star wide receiver.

14. Corey Seager

Corey Seager only played in 26 games this season before tearing the UCL in his throwing arm. Seager had to undergo Tommy John surgery and missed the remainder of the 2018 season.

Seager also had surgery on his hip but is still on track to play Opening Day in 2019.

As a team that went to the World Series, having their two-time All-Star shortstop may have been enough to tilt the odd’s in the Dodgers favor and deliver the first World Series victory to L.A. since 1988.

13. Kawhi Leonard

Kawhi Leonard’s season last year was filled with various injuries that led to a tumultuous relationship between Leonard and the Spurs organization.

Leonard was eventually cleared by the Spurs medical staff to get back on the court, but he refused to do so after all the trust was lost between Leonard and the organization. All of the back and forth that came with his injuries, led Leonard to force his way out of San Antonio, which would have seemed like an impossible outcome just a year ago.

12. Tyler Eifert

Injuries have been the story of Tyler Eifert’s career, as he has only played more than eight games twice in his six years in the NFL.

This season, Eifert’s season-ending injury came in Week 4 when he broke his ankle against the Falcons.

11. Kyrie Irving

Kyrie Irving was in the midst of a great first season with the Celtics last year and was ready to lead them into the playoffs when a knee injury sidelined him for the remainder of the season.

Without Irving, the Celtics still made it to Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals but were unable to beat LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers. If they had Irving in tow, the Celtics likely would have ended LeBron’s Finals streak and would have had a shot to take down the Warriors in the 2018 NBA Finals.

10. Dez Bryant

Dez Bryant waited for a long time to get offered a contract with a team that he was ready to play for this season. Finally, the New Orleans Saints called and Bryant was all set to join a stacked offense that had clear Super Bowl aspirations.

Then just as soon as he got there, Bryant was gone.

Bryant suffered a season-ending injury before his season even started, as he ruptured his Achilles in a practice before playing his first game.

9. Cooper Kupp

Cooper Kupp has proven to be more valuable than we ever realized, as the Los Angeles Rams do not look like the same team without him. Kupp did not get hurt until Week 10 against the Seattle Seahawks, when he tore his ACL.

Prior to Kupp’s injury, the Rams were 8-1. The Rams would go on to win in Kupp’s last game and then since his injury, the Rams have gone 3-2. Kupp had 566 receiving yards and six touchdowns on this season and is clearly an invaluable piece to Sean McVay’s offense.

8. Earl Thomas

Earl Thomas flipping off the Seahawks bench following his injury was one of the biggest boss moves that you will ever see.

Thomas was in a contract dispute with the Seahawks that led him to sit out until the start of the season and he continued to refuse to practice in hopes of avoiding injury.

As irony had it, Thomas did get hurt with the season-ending injury, proving once and for all that we have no right to judge any player that chooses to hold out to not put their body in the line before they have been paid.

7. Jimmy Garropolo

Jimmy Garoppolo had as much hype as any player this season, as the San Francisco 49ers made him the highest-paid quarterback in the league when they signed him to a contract extension.

Garoppolo only played in three games before tearing his ACL and being lost for the season.

6. Derrius Guice

Derrius Guice was set to become the featured back for the Washington Redskins in his first season in the NFL. Guice never got the chance to prove himself, as he suffered a season-ending torn ACL in his first pre-season game.

5. Caris LeVert

Caris LeVert was becoming the featured scorer and franchise player for the Brooklyn Nets, when a horrific-looking injury brought his season to a screeching halt.

LeVert was averaging 18.4 points per game and was a prime candidate to win the Most Improved Player of the Year Award. The news of the injury still ended up being better than we initially thought, as he just dislocated his foot and could return in February.

4. Kristaps Porzingis

Kristaps Porzingis was an All-Star for the first-time last year, as he had taken over as the Knicks featured scorer with Carmelo Anthony being traded.

Porzingis was averaging 22.7 points per game when he tore his ACL in that game against the Bucks. Porzingis missed the rest of last season and may miss this season too, as the Knicks are being cautious with their franchise player.

3. DeMarcus Cousins

DeMarcus Cousins was starting to figure things out alongside Anthony Davis last year, when a ruptured Achilles ended his time in New Orleans altogether.

Cousins was on his way to a max contract that would have paid him well over $100 million guaranteed. Cousins ended up having to settle on a $5.3 one-year contract this offseason as he recovers from his injury.

Who knows if Cousins will ever rebound to be the player that he was pre-injury as an Achilles injury is one of the toughest ones for a basketball player to come back from.

2. Alex Smith

Alex Smith had one of the most eerie injuries that we have ever seen this year, as he suffered a horrific compound fracture on his tibia and fibula 33 years to the day that Joe Theismann suffered the same injury.

Like Smith, Theismann was also playing for the Washington Redskins and he just happened to be in the building this year when Smith went down. Theismann never played again and it is unclear if Smith’s injury will have similar complications on his career.

1. Chris Paul

Chris Paul’s injury may not have been as severe as some of the other one’s mentioned on this list but timing is everything.

The Houston Rockets were in the driver’s seat in the Western Conference Finals as Paul had led them to a 3-2 series lead. Before that series-lead was final, Paul injured his hamstring late in Game 5.

The injury would take Paul out of the series and the Rockets dropped the next two games and had to watch the Warriors go on to win the NBA Finals again.

The Rockets do not look like the same team this year, which shows just how crucial last year’s missed opportunity was. Had Paul not gotten hurt, the Rockets likely win that series and go on to win the 2018 NBA Finals. Now who knows if they will ever get back to that point with this current roster.