Let me preface this conversation with the following: *knocks on every piece of wood in apartment.*
I’ve never suffered a severe or long-term injury. Sure, I’ve turned a bad ankle playing pick-up basketball, messed up my shoulder playing Thanksgiving football, and been painfully sore after a day at the gym, but I’ve never suffered the kind of injury that would drastically sideline me from physical activity for several months. And, to be honest, I’m kind of surprised that is the case. While growing up, I played plenty of sports with a rather feeble body. It wasn’t until college that my six-foot-three frame finally moved past the “underweight” designation (I actually wanted the Freshman 15).
I have also never played professional sports (*gasp*). But if I can easily have these bumps and bruises from some more casual competition, then I can only imagine what athletes go through on a daily. It’s why we see athletes invest so much into their bodies and into their routines. And while I know fluke injuries happen all the time, I just can’t help but think the NBA’s shorted offseason and condensed regular season has played a role in at least some of these unfortunate injuries.
• ESPN took a closer look at this earlier this season, and the data does show that injuries are up significantly from years past:
There were 2,909 games lost to soft-tissue injuries this regular season, according to certified athletic trainer Jeff Stotts, who maintains the most authoritative public injury-tracking database that covers the NBA. It’s the second-highest figure Stotts has recorded since he began tracking in 2005-06. The most was 3,038 in the 2017-18 season, which was played in 82 games vs. the 72-game campaign this year.
• This has been one of the most injury-riddled playoffs we have ever seen, and things only got worse last night when Giannis Antetokounmpo went down with a knee injury. Now, nine All-Stars have missed at least one game due to injury in the 2020-21 playoffs.
A record nine All-Stars have already missed at least one game in these playoffs.
Trae Young (ankle) missed out on that designation this season so did not officially add to that total.
Neither Young's nor Giannis' status, obviously, is yet known for Game 5 Thursday in Milwaukee.
— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) June 30, 2021
Bucks without Giannis . . .
Hawks without Trae . . .
Clippers without Kawhi . . .
Suns without Paul (before) . . .
Jazz without Conley . . .
Lakers without AD . . .
Nuggets without Murray . . .
Injuries. They’re the worst.
— K.C. Johnson (@KCJHoop) June 30, 2021
• Look, I agree that some of these are fluke injuries. Antetokounmpo landing awkwardly is not because of the shortened offseason or condensed schedule (the same can be said about Coby White’s offseason shoulder injury). We can agree on that. However, as the ESPN article notes, the body can respond differently to certain things due to fatigue and stress. What causes fatigue and stress? A lack of rest and more games in a shorter amount of time.
• Again, if you want to chalk this injury stuff up as a fluke, be my guest. But I do think we can all agree that it isn’t necessarily helpful that the NBA has another shortened offseason this summer. Guys like Jamal Murray, Kawhi Leonard, and (perhaps now) Antetokounmpo will have less time to rehab lingering injuries, which always means there is an opportunity they miss even more time next season or teams have to use them even more cautiously.
• ESPN made up a couple of trades they would like to see on draft night, and one involved a Thaddeus Young three-team deal that would net the Bulls point guard Spencer Dinwiddie. I’ve been open about my interest in Dinwiddie before, and I do think Young could be a worthy price to pay in a sign-and-trade deal for the veteran. Not only is it hard to imagine Young produces at the same level we saw this season (especially with Vucevic fully in the mix), but Dinwiddie would provide strong experience at arguably the Bulls’ biggest position of need. With that said, I 100 percent get concerns about Dinwiddie’s long-term health. He is coming off a partially torn ACL, and ESPN wrote that they imagined him receiving $18 million a year on his new deal. If that was the price on the line … I would not jump as quickly at the opportunity.
• Joakim Noah and Luol Deng are both investors in the NBA’s new Basketball Africa League. The Bulls legend talks more about the initiative below:
Former @chicagobulls and two-time @nba All-Star ⭐️ , @JoakimNoah is confident that #theBAL will encourage african youth to dream big and engage with the game of basketball not only in Cameroon but across the continent. pic.twitter.com/msDnjXqSwb
— Basketball Africa League (@theBAL) June 30, 2021
• ICYMI: Kris Dunn played in a playoff game last night. He clocked 11 minutes with 0 points, 2 assists, and 1 rebound.
There will be a Kris Dunn sighting in Trae Young’s absence.
Somewhere, Gar Forman smiles
— Vincent Goodwill (@VinceGoodwill) June 30, 2021
• Dan Patrick commented further on the explosive Scottie Pippen interview from the other day, and the Bulls Talk Podcast also shared some constructive thoughts on the whole Phil Jackson situation. I certainly expect there to be more fallout from all of this, especially when Pippen’s new book comes out in November.
• I would have fainted … woken up … seen the signature … and fainted again.
MJ stopped to sign her Jordans. Real one ✊ @brkicks
(via rockin46/TikTok) pic.twitter.com/zllB84H5Ko
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) June 29, 2021
• Tell me the game is over without telling me the game is over:
This Capela circus shot was wild 😳 pic.twitter.com/jOL901wrfp
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) June 30, 2021