The Unlucky 13: Ill-Timed Injuries


You can’t help but feel for 17-year-old Aussie Tess Coady, who was ruled out of the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics after tearing her ACL during her last practice run. Identified as one of the bright young stars of the team, Coady was set to compete in the Slopestyle event before her injury.

Coady now has the unfortunate honour of joining this list of athletes to pick up an injury at the worst possible time as she rehabs and begins her campaign for Beijing 2022.

Steve Price

Between 1994 and 1998, Price made three grand finals with the Bulldogs, losing two and winning one. He could be forgiven for thinking that it was largely automatic, and he would play in several more throughout his career. After all, he was 24 when his side lost to the Broncos in the inaugural NRL Grand Final.

A six year wait for another appearance looked set to end when the Bulldogs made it back to face the Roosters. Unfortunately for Price, in his final season with the club, a knee injury would rob him of the day, instead promoting some unknown kid named Thurston into the side. In another stroke of poor luck for Price, he would miss the 2008 World Cup Final due to a calf tear sustained in the final training session before the game.

Blake Griffin & Chris Paul

It is easy to say “could have” but there is a whole lot of that feeling surrounding the LA Clippers and their run in the 2016 NBA Playoffs. With a path to the Conference Finals seemingly clearing in front of them and a 2-0 lead over Portland, injuries to Griffin and Paul sent their season careening into the wilderness.

Paul injured his hand and Griffin suffered a quad strain that limited their involvement going forward. As it so happened, the remainder of the Clippers team were eliminated after losing four straight games as the Trail Blazers were the ones moving on, however they were comfortably beaten by Golden State in the next round. Good to see the two former teammates are still good friends.

David Krejci

Boston’s historic collapse in the 2010 Eastern Conference semi-final series was punctuated by an injury to centre David Krejci suffered in the process of taking a 3-0 series lead. Krejci broke his wrist on a clean hit and missed the rest of the series as the Flyers overturned the deficit and advanced to the final four.


It is a heartbreaking way for your World Cup on home soil to end but Neymar’s broken bone in his back dashed the Brazilian hopes of winning the World Cup on their home soil. Juan Zuniga’s knee was the culprit here digging into Neymar’s back while challenging for a header. It set up a rough meeting with Germany in the semi-final.

Cristiano Ronaldo

As much success as Ronaldo has enjoyed at club level, his international resume, along with Lionel Messi, is somewhat bare. So, when he had the chance to captain the Portuguese side in the final of Euro 2016, there was nothing that would keep him from playing every minute in that… except for an early collision with Dimitri Payet. The remainder of the broadcast was interspersed with a tracksuited Ronaldo hobbling along the sidelines, seemingly doing manager Fernando Santos’s job screaming instructions at players. Of course, his absence did not prevent Portugal winning the tournament, but you know there is a part of Ronaldo being eaten up at being on the sideline for the final whistle.

Dustin Johnson

Everything seemed to be going the way of Dustin Johnson and he had an outstanding opportunity to win his first Green Jacket at Augusta but a bizarre overnight incident prevented that happening.

Johnson suffered a lower-back injury after he fell down the stairs of his Augusta rental home and he missed the first major of that year.

Dayne Beams

There are a number of players that have suffered the heartbreak of missing out on a Grand Final and the withdrawal of Dayne Beams may have changed the result of the 2011 AFL Grand Final.

Beams played a key role in Collingwood’s premiership win in 2010, but he suffered a groin injury in their emotional preliminary final win over Hawthorn and he was forced to miss the Grand Final.
Collingwood clearly missed Beams and they lost the Grand Final to Geelong.

Wayne Arthurs

Poor old Wayne Arthurs.

The journeyman announced before the 2007 Australian Open that it would be his last tournament on Australian soil and he progressed to the third round, but he was forced to pull out of his clash with Mardy Fish after just three games.

It turned out the Arthurs had taken a local anaesthetic shot before the match that he had an rare adverse reaction to, which deadened his leg and made running impossible.

Simon Katich

Simon Katich looked set to make his Test debut in place of Ricky Ponting during Australia’s tour to Sri Lanka in 1999, but he came down with chicken pox just days before the Test and he was ruled out of the clash.

Katich had to wait another two years before he was finally able to make his Test debut against England and he thankfully went on to have a successful Test career before it was ended due to his personal feud with Michael Clarke.

Tony Modra

Tony Modra was the heart and soul of the Adelaide Football Club throughout the 1990s and it really was cruel that Modra missed out on playing in the clubs first premiership win.

Modra was the Coleman Medallist in 1997 and played a key role to getting the Crows to the Grand Final, but he tore his ACL in the preliminary final and missed their Grand Final win over St Kilda.
He was never the same player again and sadly finished his career without a premiership medal.

Glenn McGrath

This is the injury that changed the 2005 Ashes Series.

Australia had scored a comfortable win over England in the first Test of the series, but disaster struck during the warm-up for the second Test when Glenn McGrath rolled his ankle on a cricket ball and was forced out of the Test.

The Australian bowling attack struggled without McGrath and lost the thrilling second Test in Edgbaston, which eventually cost them the series.

Michael Ballack

Michael Ballack was set to carry the hopes of host-nation Germany at the 2006 World Cup, but he suffered a calf strain just before their opening game with Costa Rica.

This was treated by the German press as one of the great tragedies in the history of sport and the television crew covering the game spent as much time showing Ballack sitting on the bench as they did the on-field action!

Jason Day

We can only hope that a repeat of this horrible incident doesn’t happen to Jason Day.

Day has suffered from vertigo for a number of years, but it reached a head at the 2015 US Open when he collapsed when he was tied for the lead in the second round.

Day fought through to finish the tournament in the top ten, but it is clear that he was struggling throughout, and it could be argued that it cost him the tournament.