LeBron James, Kevin Durant, James Harden, Steph Curry. These are all superstars that have missed extended periods during this condensed NBA season. The injuries have been especially detrimental in this year’s playoffs.
Take Lakers star Anthony Davis for example. He injured his groin at the end of the first half in Game 5, during a first-round matchup with the 2nd place Phoenix Suns. Davis was held out for the remainder of the game as the Lakers would go on to lose Game 5, 85-115. The Lakers’ star tried to give it a go for Game 6 but was clearly hobbled and could not even finish the 1st quarter. The Lakers would go on to lose the game and the series to the Suns 4-2.
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Kyrie Irving Sounds off on NBA’s Increased Injuries
Now, yet another star has succumbed to injury in this year’s playoffs. Harden reaggravated his hamstring during Game 1 of the Nets’ Eastern Conference Semifinals matchup with the Milwaukee Bucks. Kyrie Irving has seen the impact that injuries can have on a team firsthand this year. While the condensed NBA season is not completely to blame for the uptick in injuries this year, Irving does not doubt that they have indeed played a part.
“I think number one it has a lot to do with individual conditioning, being able to put yourself in a great position for the long haul this season,” Irving said after the Nets Game 1 win over the Bucks per SNY. “You know, I think we have great medical members here, great physio staff and there’s a large number of games being played regardless. The work really starts in the summer and unfortunately, we’re seeing a huge tick-up in injuries happening due to muscle fatigue, that’s natural.”
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NBA Bubble Contributed To Shortened Season
When the NBA season came to a screeching halt in March of 2020 due to the Coronavirus pandemic, there was a lot of speculation on if the season should be continued or cancelled altogether. The NBA’s Board of Governors eventually approved an NBA restart that took place in the Orlando Bubble towards the end of July but the schedule for games would be a lot more condensed than usual.
“You know any time that you are playing a game and you have a day and a half in between and you’re playing another game, it’s who recovers quicker, who recovers at a high level, and then who goes out there in the weight room, or on the court and performs still at the standard that you want to play at individually,” Irving continued.
The league was able to complete the 2020 season successfully for the most part, but the problem was the NBA Finals ended on October 11, around the time that the regular season usually starts. The 2020-21 season opened on December 22. The Miami Heat and Los Angeles Lakers who met in the 2020 NBA Finals only had 71 days off between Game 6 of the NBA Finals and NBA opening night.
“So, the games are going to come and it’s unfortunate like I said but it’s about who is the most conditioned or well-conditioned team that’s gonna last the longest. These injuries can happen at any time as you see, so it’s just a gift and curse with all of the games, but you just gotta be able to adjust and stay steady.”
With no timetable for Harden’s return available, the Nets will once again have to adjust without one of their All-Stars. They will not have much time to do it but still will need to have all of their ducks in a row as they look to gain a 2-0 advantage over the Bucks in Game 2 of the series.