NBA Injuries on the Upswing in 2015
Warriors is hardly how we’d term men who dribble and dunk basketballs for a living, unless, of course, we’re referencing the 2014-15 NBA kingpins from Golden State. Although basketball has long been a game reserved for the frail and finessed, it has since taken on an intense physicality better suited for the ice rink, prize ring or gridiron.
“The amount of contact has risen to a dangerous level,” says Dr. Armin Tehrany. “Eventually they will need shoulder pads and knee braces, like in the NFL.”
If the hardwood has become a battleground of sorts, today’s combatants clang elbows, swat forearms, and perform take-downs like never before. The proof? Try the alarming spike in season-ending NBA injuries plaguing the league today; sprained knees, blown-out ACLs, torn meniscuses – you name it. The game’s elite performers have been dropping like casualties, marring the beloved pastime for both fans and practitioners alike.
Bigger And Better
The physical evolution of the average NBA player over the past three decades is downright astounding. With improvements in sports medicine, nutritional science, and strength and conditioning technology, it’s hardly surprising that players in 2015 boast a vast physical superiority to the performers of yesteryear.
“The players (today) are stronger and faster,” says Dr. Tehrany. Hence, the face of the game has undergone a dramatic transformation since the turn of the millennium. What was once a flashy, finesse-oriented sport has become one dominated by today’s physically imposing giants. The game’s tempo has also accelerated into a breakneck pace, thereby increasing the likelihood of NBA injury by tenfold. “As the level of intensity increases in the league, so does the risk of injury,” adds Dr. Tehrany.
Other factors contributing to the injury bug include:
- Strenuous travel schedules
- Overabundance of games being played
- Lengthier off-season training leagues and camps
Rise Of The Torn ACL
Nothing can negatively impact an NBA season (or career, for that matter) like the sudden oncoming of a torn ACL injury. When one occurs, it spells doom to the umpteenth degree.
Unfortunately, ACL injuries have become a common epidemic sweeping across the NBA. In 1985, New York Knicks’ Bernard King was the only premier player in eons to sustain a torn ACL. It wasn’t until a decade later when Danny Manning of the Phoenix Suns went down with an identical tear. Since Chicago Bulls’ superstar Derrick Rose fell under the torn ACL spell in 2012, the painful trend has caught afire, stars like Rajon Rondo, Iman Shumpert, Brandon Rush, and several others falling victim to the violent knee tear.
Not only are such injuries physically excruciating, they also require costly orthoscopic knee surgery procedures that sideline victims for entire seasons, sometimes longer.
The Healing Effect
The runner-ups to this year’s NBA championship, the Cleveland Cavaliers, were devastated by sustaining season-ending mishaps to not one, but two starters during its post-season run. However, the agony of defeat did not rival that of the ensuing rehabilitation processes for the team’s injury-prone personnel.
“Players are working out so much harder in order to handle the physical nature of play,” says Dr. Tehrany. “They are wearing out their joints faster than before just from their workout regimens.”
Yes, it’s undeniable that the NBA injury count is surely on the rise. Thankfully, seasoned specialists like Dr. Tehrany offer viable solutions for treating such unpleasantries.