Following an unprecedentedly long in-season stoppage due to the coronavirus pandemic, NBA trainers mostly successfully handled the massive challenge of preparing players to return to play.
Now, they must do it again.
The NBA is set to begin next season Dec. 22. Teams will have both historically short and historically long offseasons.
Baxter Holmes of ESPN:
“It’s going to be especially challenging to not only get ready to play Dec. 22 or whatever but to maintain that for a period of four or five months,” said one head athletic trainer of a Western Conference team, who, like others, spoke on the condition of anonymity.
“This is going to be another period of unchartered territory. As unchartered as the [Orlando] bubble was [this summer], this is the bubble times three or four or five [because we’re] trying to extend it to that period of time with a minimal ramp-up.”
Players can more easily rest during the regular season than in the bubble, which quickly advanced to the playoffs.
But because it’s a shorter regular season, each game matters more. Plus, it appears there will be travel. At least the bubble was in a single location.
Considering everything, are players more susceptible to injury than usual next season? That’s the risk.
The reward? Money. Lots of money.