The Indiana Pacers, Miami Heat and San Antonio Spurs should count their blessings or at least pray they are not the next teams struck by injury misfortunes this postseason.
Out of all of the team still alive in the NBA playoffs, the Pacers, Heat and Spurs can hang their hat on the fact that they don’t have any lingering injuries to report, unlike the Chicago Bulls (Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah) and the New York Knicks (Baron Davis, Jeremy Lin, Iman Shumpert) who have had their respective first round series tainted by a bunch of blown out knees.
Not a pretty sight. But constant injuries have been a theme throughout this lockout shortened season and perhaps is even under the public microscope even more so now.
And even David Stern can make the connection between guys suffering injuries and the compressed schedule.
"There is some part of it that may be related to that," Stern said Tuesday during an appearance with Jim Rome on the CBS Sports Network.
"I think some part of it is luck and some part of it is lack of preparedness by our players before the season began. It's a combination of things."
Stern has come a long way since April 30, when he said the bond between jamming 66 games and the lengthy playoffs into a six month had “Zero” effect on the amount of injuries being sustained around the league. And the debate now reaches beyond Chicago’s Derrick Rose’s season-ending knee injury from Game 1 against the Philadelphia 76ers.
It’s being felt around the league during the playoffs.
So much for making a case for a shorter NBA schedules down the road.
Stern did say the league will review the injury data from this past season at the end of the year and factor in the lack of a full training camp and practice schedule in order to better understand how the non-82 game schedule and series of injuries are connected. While that is a start in the right direction, the players and teams at the end of the day are left to pick up the pieces because there isn't too much Stern can do at this juncture except learn that jamming a bunch of games into a few months isn't the way to go.
More than anything it is risking the help of the product.
"The one thing I do know is that we've had more lost games because of injuries, because the compressed schedule takes away a day of rest for a minor injury. ... We're going to look at the precise numbers at the end of the season and we'll try to have a view of it because it's spread out differently as well. Some teams don't practice. Some teams do. I don't know whether it relates," Stern added.
"Some teams actually worked out with the players alone all summer and some didn't. We're going to try to see whether we can learn something from this compressed season in the way that teams approach it."
In the last 12 days since the NBA Playoffs first round got underway, eight players have been hampered with intense injuries and ranged from knees (four players), shoulder (one player), hip (one player), ankle (one player) and foot (one player) problems. Then there are the injuries that players like Taj Gibson (ankle), Caron Butler (hand) and Amar’e Stoudemire are fighting through to stay on the floor.
Still, you hate to imagine who is next and what they go down with, but the NBA will be keeping a close eye for sure because the league office will once again have to field questions on the this topic.
Injuries are part of the game. They are part of the playoffs.
And now the injuries are part of David Stern’s lingering headache in this shortened season.
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