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Celtics aren't immune to the soft-tissue injuries plaguing the NBA


We are not talking about broken bones here, but rather damage to muscles, tendons and ligaments. This concerns the soft-tissue injuries plaguing not only the Boston Celtics, but the entire NBA this season. All of the quotes are from a revealing article by uproxx.com's Katie Heindl

Marcus Smart just returned from such an injury - a grade one calf sprain. On the surface, that doesn't sound serious, but it can be. That type of sprain involves actual tearing of muscle tissue. And Brad Stevens has gone on record as hoping Jaylen Brown's knee soreness is "not something long-term".  And then we have Kemba Walker's knee issue which was treated via stem cell therapy. What is going on?

Within the NBA’s first month of the 2020-21 season, four injuries had players officially out for the season and seven were serious enough that players were forecast to return sometime in mid-March

It’s these kinds of soft tissue and tendon-based injuries that are currently proliferating in the league.

I advise my followers to read Heindl's entire article, but here is a quick breakdown of possible culprits in the steady increase in these types of injures:

1.) "Short pre-season"

2.) "Rapid deconditioning" of athletes due to COVI-19

3.) "Fatigue" 

4.) Too-rapid a "return to regular gameplay following injury"

5.) Increased "pace" of the game

6.) "Packed game schedule influenced by broadcast opportunities"

7.) "Shift in how the game is packaged, pushed and consumed"

8.) "High impact, high-loading of muscles"

That's it in a nutshell. The "high impact, high loading" described by Heidl was not nearly as prevalent in the 60's and 70's. I never remember seeing 6'5" John Havlicek or 6'4" Sam Jones dunk the basketball. The Bill Russell/Wilt Chamberlain matchups saw a lot of above-the-rim action by both centers, but it was so unusual the press would often use it in a full article.

The pace of the NBA game has soared, as have the superior athletes with their high-flying acts. But high-level athletes lose conditioning quickly, and a short-pre-season and COVID protocols have taken a toll. 

Although not an indictment of the NBA itself, Heindl's article does point a finger in that direction - as I do. The League has become big business - meaning a lot of money. 

"...we can remind ourselves not to lose the gruesome shock of a muscle unraveling, or the agony in someone collapsing to the floor only weeks after they set a confident foot on it for the first time. To remember that the league is a structure only as strong as the bodies supporting it, like tendons fixed to bone until it breaks."

In the battle of morality versus money, there at least has to be a balance between the two. Without healthy versions of Kemba Walker, Marcus Smart and Jaylen Brown, the Boston Celtics have little chance at a Title this season. And if NBA  continues to see its stars fall at an alarming pace, the league's future is in jeopardy. Watch for my next article on the subject.


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