Is The Shortened NBA Season The Cause For Growing Player Injuries?
Magic coach Stan Van Gundy has “watched as the list of injured NBA players grows longer by the day,” and he has “wondered if the decision to have shortened training camps after the lockout and a 66-games-in-124-days schedule has contributed to the problem,” according to Marc Spears of YAHOO SPORTS. Van Gundy said, “You’ve given them less preparation and a more demanding schedule. Especially early in the year, that’s not going to be a good thing for the players.” Spears noted some of the names among the league’s “infirmed read like a potential All-Star roster,” including Bulls G Derrick Rose, Clippers G Chris Paul, Heat G Dwyane Wade and Celtics F Paul Pierce. Some of the injuries “can be written off as flukes or bad luck.” However, in the season’s “first three weeks, there have been a large number of strains, sprains -- and even the bizarre." In the "span of two days," Hawks C Al Horford and Warriors C Kwame Brown "tore chest muscles that required surgery and will sideline them for at least three months.” Van Gundy: “You don’t see that. Those are football and weightlifting injuries.” Magic G Jason Richardson believes that the “inability of players to work out and scrimmage at team facilities -- under the watchful eyes of team trainers -- has contributed to the large number of injuries.” Richardson, who has missed two games after spraining his left knee last Thursday, said, “There is definitely a correlation. You can’t simulate NBA games no matter what you do.” Spurs G T.J. Ford, who is expected to miss four to six weeks with a torn left hamstring, said, “It was a difficult scenario for both parties: the organization and the players. Everything had to be rushed, and the process had to be speeded up, as far as training camp and getting a couple (preseason) games in to start the season. I think everyone understood the risk” (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 1/18).
ROSE-COLORED GLASSES: In Philadelphia, Bob Cooney notes NBA Commissioner David Stern attended the Nuggets-76ers game last night at Wells Fargo Center and sat with team Owner Joshua Harris. While the 149-day lockout “certainly soured some fans, Stern painted a rosy picture of his league.” Stern: "It's been a pretty good start to the season. I was asked how we measured and one measure is attendance, another is ratings, locally and nationally, and another is merchandising. And in all areas we're doing robustly.” He added, "The Sixers sort of announced their presence in the playoffs last year. This is just a continuation and is very gratifying to see the fans responding the way they are. I know that television ratings are up like 60 percent here and attendance is going to go through the roof in terms of increase in attendance. So it's very exciting” (PHILADELPHIA DAILY NEWS, 1/19).