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- Dragon Ball Z
- Happens all the damned time with Goku, who is out of action pretty much just as often as he's onscreen. The fights with the Saiyans, the Ginyu Force, and Freeza all basically consisted of the good guys desperately trying to stay alive until he shows up or finished healing (they occasionally got the edge on Freeza, but he just kept transforming).
- He was also out of action for nearly the entire Android Saga after he became sick with his heart virus. Although, this subverts the above since it is noted by several characters that even if Goku was around he would be basically useless since the androids were much stronger than him. By the time Goku is well and strong enough to fight, only Perfect Cell is left.
- In Claymore, the Destroyer Arc ends with Clare trapped inside remains of Destroyer, with Priscilla. Therefore, she doesn't take a part in the Rebelion Arc, allowing Miria to take the lead.
- Fourth volume of AKIRA happens almost enteirly without Kaneda who is pressumed dead, focusing on Kei and giving more spotlight to Kiyoko, Ryu and Colonel.
- Happens quite often to Luffy from One Piece. He is often out of action because he is drowning, beaten near death, eaten by a snake, asleep, lost, or stuck somewhere.
- In The Incredible Hulk the Hulk is presumed killed by a Gamma bomb that went off in the town of Centerville even though they Never Found the Body. There is an inquiry which gives the Hulk's supporting players some time in the limelight, before revealing that the Hulk is alive and well and living in Jarella's World, where the resident magicians have used their magic to summon the Hulk coincidentally just before the bomb blew up.
- Happens frequently in the Deryni works, effectively swapping the members of the heroic ensemble. Notably:
- Rhys Thuryn is drugged by Tavis O'Neill and Prince Javan Haldane in Camber the Heretic. They question Rhys about Javan's fuzzy memories of his first empowerment ritual, then set Rhys free to join Camber/Alister against the Regents. Rhys' merasha hangover contributes to his accidental death in the cathedral.
- Kelson passed out after a portion of his empowerment ritual in Deryni Rising. He briefly came to long enough to deal with a disturbance and protect Morgan from scrutiny, then passed out again.
- Derry is severely injured while guarding Kelson's quarters in Deryni Rising; he was already at a disadvantage from an injury to his hand sustained defending Morgan from assassins days earlier. Morgan, distressed at the possibility of losing him, goes to his side and attempts to Heal Derry—with success!
- Morgan after being drugged and abducted in Deryni Checkmate. He was partially functional for a bit, but Duncan came to his rescue, led the way to hide out at the ruins of Saint Neot's, and put Morgan to bed so he could sleep off the drug's effects while Duncan searched for a Transfer Portal.
- Dhugal is beaten and concussed when he's taken captive by the Mearans in The Bishop's Heir. He's held, together with Bishop Henry Istelyn, for several days.
- Morgan again when he collapses from overextending himself to Call on campaign in The King's Justice. Kelson insists on sharing the energy drain and puts Morgan to sleep for the night, and they alternate sending Calls each night after that.
- Nigel passes out from his partial empowerment ritual in The King's Justice. He comes to for a time, but Richenda has him drink some wine and he's sent to bed to sleep off the aftereffects.
- Duncan after being tortured in The King's Justice. He stays with the combined Haldane-Corwyn-Cassan-Transha armies, riding in a litter for a few days.
- Kelson from injuries sustained in a fall from a cliff trail in The Quest for Saint Camber. Dhugal, who fell with him and also sustained some damage, gives him medical care before they try to find their way back to civilzation, but Kelson isn't fully functional until Dhugal successfully Heals his injuries.
- Happens in some of Edward Marston's novels:
- In The Roaring Boy, playwright Edmund Hoode is arrested after the company stages a play based on an in-universe court case. Hoode had revised a play given them by some interested parties and put his name on it at their suggestion, but other interested parties dislike the notion that the people hanged for murder weren't guilty. The company has to get Hoode out of prison, as well as solve the original crime and more recent ones that follow their production.
- In The Devil's Apprentice, lead actor Lawrence Firethorn is repeatedly laid low by illnesses that mimic the ones suffered by his character in the company's new play. His wife and the company have to recast his parts, get medical help, and nurse him back to health.
- In The Vagabond Clown, resident clown Barnaby Gill breaks his leg during a performance and has to be temporarily replaced with another comic actor who is subsequently murdered. Later still, the leading man of the troupe Lawrence Firethorne is abducted, forcing the cast to cover for him during a performance and search for him offstage.
- In The Counterfiet Crank, resident playwright Edmund Hoode is laid low by a mysterious illness and the troupe solicits work from a new playwright while still encouraging their colleague to recover.
- In Michael Robertson's The Brothers of Baker Street, barrister Reggie Heath produces an alibi for a Black Cab driver accused of a robbery-double homicide. Reggie later goes in search of his recent client when another corpse turns up and is arrested at the scene of the client's murder. The action turns to his brother Nigel and their sometime girlfriend Laura, who have to get him out on bail so the trio can work to clear Reggie of his own murder charge.
- The series Magnum, P.I. was mostly about Thomas Magnum's casework, but more than once an episode revolved around Thomas being missing and /or injured, giving T.C., Rick, and Higgins their time in the spotlight. Notably:
- "Home from the Sea" begins with Thomas on his surf kayak when he's swept off it by the wake of a passing boat. He treads water for an extended period while his friends discover he's missing and go in search of him.
- In "Smaller than Life", Magnum is laid up in the hospital while Rick takes an investigating job with the aid of T.C. and Higgins.
- In 24 when Jack Bauer was infected with a lethal substance that left him unable to work properly in the field, Tony Almeida was forced to infiltrate the terrorist hideout and blow the rest of it up. Even after Tony turns out to be The Mole and Jack returns to the field, his deteriorating condition forces him to still limit his activity, which leaves Agent Renee Walker to handle most of the action.
- Emergency! used this a few times. Most often, Gage was the injured party. Once, he was hit by a car, once he was felled by a monkey virus. Roy had to cope with temporary partners like a guy who insisted on doing everything totally by the book.
- Angel and the plot with Angel being trapped in a box underwater.
- Similarly, Buffy the Vampire Slayer had a couple of episodes where Buffy was sidelined.
- Chrono Trigger: Crono dies fighting Lavos. But he is revived (or unkilled) thanks to the Chrono Trigger.
- Final Fantasy VI: Terra flies off after getting in touch with her Esper side. Luckily, the team can find her pretty easily by following the trail of destruction. Later, the entire playable party can be scattered to the ends of the earth and you can decide to either collect them all or just the minimum three necessary to take on Kefka.
- Final Fantasy VII: Cloud wanders off and goes for a swim in the life stream. By the time you find him, he has serious mako poisoning and is incoherent.
- Final Fantasy VIII: After failing a mission, Squall and his entire team are captured. While Squall is locked up in a cell and being tortured, the remaining members of the party have to stage a prison break to save him.
- Xenogears: Fei is temporarily unavailable after he almost drowns. Even after you get him medical treatment, he takes a while to wake up.
- Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords: There is a section where you set up a secondary group that will board Goto's yacht to rescue the Exile.
- Dragon Age: Origins: There is a section where the Player Character is in prison, and if you choose to wait for rescue, you will have to control a few of your other party characters and bust yourself out.
- Mass Effect 2: You control Joker in order to save the Normandy from the Collectors.
- Max Payne 2: The player temporarily take control of Mona Sax after Max falls out of a building and Mona has to protect him until he regains consciousness.
- Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Gates to Infinity: In a big change of pace from the previous games, the hero returns to their world in the game's ending. The brief post-credits story sequence has you playing as your partner, who's eventually informed of a way to bring them back into the Pokemon world by Hydreigon.
- El Shaddai: Ascension of the Metatron: After your boss-fight with Armaros, Enoch gets swallowed by the Darkness while rescuing a little girl, and Armaros - remembering the friendship they once held, and impressed by Enoch's selfless action, has to dive into the darkness to find and cure him. He's noticeably different to play as than Enoch, but far from underpowered...
- Superstar Saga: When Mario eats the Invincishroom and gets sick Luigi must travel alone to go find the cure.
- Kid Icarus: Uprising: After Pit burns up his wings saving the Anti-Hero, Dark Pit, we spend a level as Dark Pit trying to get his counterpart back in the game so as to avoid owing him anything. Gameplay-wise, there's no difference, but this level is a good deal snarkier than most others. Not an unimpressive feat, considering the rest of the game.
- In Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney: Trials & Tribulations, Phoenix is injured during the lead-up to the final case of the game, thus Miles Edgeworth takes over his position as investigator and defense attorney until he is able to get better.
- In the second Digital Devil Saga game, Serph got killed by Heat, but managed to drag Heat down the core of the EGG Installation, giving Sera a Heroic B.S.O.D.. In the meanwhile, you control Gale, until Sera recover from her Heroic B.S.O.D. and assumed control. Turns out Serph is still alive and you control him again after rescuing him. Also, in the final dungeon, Serph and Sera merged into Seraph.
- Near the end of Atelier Iris 2, Felt got turned to stone by Chaos, prompting Viese to leave Eden to find his whereabout.
- From The Order of the Stick we have the whole arc where Roy is rather more than just injured, as he is very, very dead (and rotting) instead. It's complicated, but some of the other heroes were working to revive him (in a roundabout sort of way), while the rest were trying to get back together after an unfortunate party-split. And one in particular was... just getting into very deep trouble indeed.
- Due to suffering from a severe case of metal poisoning at the end of Season 3, Korra is taken out of action for almost three years while the newly resurrected Air Nomads promise to follow her example and maintain peace in the world. However, her absence resulted in Team Avatar breaking up almost as an afterthought, which meant there was no Team Avatar to make the world a better place, or to stop Kuvira. Even the Airbenders weren't making much progress either.