‣ The NBA has been making efforts to eliminate load management from professional basketball, including changing rules to fine teams that practice it and presenting a study showing no link with injury risks.
‣ The league’s report aims to demonstrate that there is no correlation between load management and injuries, in an attempt to prevent teams from sitting down players to reduce their workload, a practice that has negatively impacted ticket sales.
‣ The NBA has implemented a new policy that allows them to fine franchises up to $1 million if they sit healthy players during nationally televised matches, and has set a 65-game threshold for players who wish to be eligible for regular-season awards.
This am, in @TheAthletic: the NBA officially put out a report, citing medical data collected from teams over the last decade, which it claims shows that load management doesn't lead to fewer future injuries– a 180 from the league's previous position:
— David Aldridge (@davidaldridgedc)
This year, the NBA has made a concerted effort to eliminate load management from professional basketball. They’ve changed the rule book, slapped fines on teams that still practice it, and even presented a study claiming no link with injury risks.
The teams have long used injury risks as a pretext for load management. So, the NBA has turned to analytical data to disprove this. They hope this report will be their latest weapon in the fight against sporadic player rest to reduce workload.
Load management has been on the rise over the past decade. This trend has hit ticket sales, as fans are hesitant to pay for a seat when they might not get to see their favorite players.
The NBA introduced a new policy over the summer. It lets them fine franchises anywhere from $100,000 to $1 million if they bench healthy players during nationally televised games. There’s also a new 65-game threshold for players who want to be eligible for regular-season awards.
Dr. Christina Mach, the chief scientific officer at IQVIA Injury Surveillance & Analytics, produced a 57-page report. It boldly states that missing games for rest or load management doesn’t reduce future in-season injury risk. It also found no increase in injury rates during or after periods of a dense schedule.
Last year, insider Adrian Wojnarowski shared his thoughts on the reasons behind this change to the NBA rule book. He talked about the long-term negotiations happening behind the scenes that are driving the need for these agreements.
He said, “The punishment will be significant for teams – not the individual players – teams. $100,00, $250,00 for the first instances and then a million more each time for successive violations of the resting policy. The league, they’re negotiating a new media rights deal and they want their star players on the court.”
Hall of Famer Charles Barkley has been vocal about his views on load management. He’s pretty much echoing what all fans have been thinking, especially considering the millions that players earn each season.
Just before the season started, Barkley appeared on TNT’s Inside the NBA. He had a strong message for all basketball athletes. He said, “I’m talking to the players, man. Forget the ownership, forget the fans, as a player, if you’re going to make $50 or 60 million a year to play basketball three or four days a week, play basketball, man.”
Barkley, now 60, was essentially giving NBA fans a platform to express their frustrations. Fans are paying huge sums for tickets to see their favorite players up close, only to find them absent.
He continued, “Now, if you’re injured, don’t play. But everybody’s hurt after the first two weeks of the season. Your legs are sore, your knees are sore. If you’re injured, I don’t want you to play… Y’all have got the best shoes, you’ve got the best medical staff, you’ve got these guys sleeping in chambers, you’ve got ice baths. If you can play, shut the hell up and play.”