The state of orthopedics in the 1960s was not quite like it is now. Fifty years ago, a serious knee injury was basically a career killer, especially considering the fact that NBA teams did not employ the doctors, massage therapists, and rehab specialists that they do today. When Lakers star Elgin Baylor detached his kneecap during the 1965 season, it seemed that the explosive athlete’s career was basically over. Not so fast.

After being limited in his first season following surgery to repair his knee, Baylor returned to form and made four consecutive All-Star teams from 1967 to 1970. Although he would never lead his Lakers team to a title (that would only happen after he retired during the 1972 season), Baylor continued to be a star player despite the fact that he easily could have been done.