Why are there so many Injuries in the NBA?

Why are there so many Injuries in the NBA?

Injuries in sports can ruin a career, a team, a title.
Larry Bird was never the same after his back problems. The Spurs in 96/7 didn't even make the playoffs when the Admiral, Chuck Person and Elliot where basically out for the season. Magic retired (once) because of the HIV. The 1989 Lakers were swept in the Finals with injuries to Magic, Worthy and Scott. Some players resist more than others.

Isiah once scored 25 in a half of a playoff game with a sprained knee. Jordan always played even with the flu. In the 93 playoffs he had a sore wrist and scored in the thirties only on layups. He was quoted "If Darrell Walker (his teammate) can last 10 years in the league without a jump-shot, i think I can last a couple of games". Anfernee Hardaway is a veteran but has been very ordinary after the injuries on his legs grounded him. He was first team All-NBA in his second season. Grant Hill, 4 years without playing more than 20 games. A bad surgery fast-fowarded his career from a 27 to a 31 year old guy.

Many players fake injuries as a hold out to negotiate a contract. Some refuse to play when the smallest of injuries comes along. Michael Olowokandi is always injured in a toe or something. Horace Grant lasted some many years, in part because he only played at 100%.

Conditioning takes its part. Drugs killed Shawn Kemp's career. He was always overweight which amounted to injuries. Same goes to Stanley Roberts and even Shaq. Kevin Willis Kareem and K. Malone surely had many cares with training and food. Many players eat more hamburgers than Ronald McDonald. Alcohol doesn't help. Neither does smoking. Life goes on after the game is over, and some players become a mess at age 50.

With the progress of medical science it's almost unbelievable that injuries still occur at such a big rate. Why?

For two reasons, really.

First is that the diagnosis means have stepped up considerably. MRI's for instance, have come a standard only in the 90s. Stress fractures could not be detected before. Andrew Toney, a shooting guard all-star for the Sixers in the 80s started complaining that he had pain in his legs. X-Rays showed nothing wrong, so he kept his mouth shut and played. His production fell quite a bit as he lost a step. Barkley, once going to the bench, hit is leg by accident. He saw tears coming from Toney's face. He had excruciating pain, and was professional to play. Sir Charles, in two books, truly regrets having had doubt of Toney's injury. Nowadays every minor injury can be detected. They were always there, just unheard of. Do they keep guys from playing? See next reason.

The second cause is that players are much more athletic than before. In the 90s 6'1'' guards dunking was a thing for All Star Slam Dunk contests. Dee Brown, KJ and Webb and few others. Nowadays Baron Davis is capable of winning an 80s Dunk contest with the stuff he does in the games. Allen Iverson has done beautiful stuff. Carter, McGrady and Kobe make Jordan and others look vulgar. Ricky Davis has made between the legs dunks AT GAMES!! Much more emphasis is put on the physical part of the game; some feel a bit too detrimental to the fundamental skills. This means much more time at the gym putting effort on the body. This not only causes more wear on the body but makes each player's game more dependant on the athletic side. So whenever injuries come, they come more frequently and upset the guy's game in a more influential manner.

Non jumping players like Bird, Stockton, Ricky Pierce, McHale, Hornacek, Hersey Hawkins, Terry Porter and many others are almost extinct. Few players can survive without athleticism. Very few possess penetration based on being smart and faking their way through. Or having a dependable 2pt jump-shot coming of screens.

"that’s just the way it is" - Bruce Hornsby


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