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Monday, April 30, 2012
Stern: Injuries not from schedule

ESPNChicago.com

NBA commissioner David Stern said Monday that he doesn't believe Derrick Rose's ACL tear, or the other major injuries plaguing the league this season, had anything to do with a schedule condensed by a lockout.

"I don't think it's related at all. Zero," Stern said on "The Herd With Colin Cowherd" on ESPN Radio.

The New York Knicks' Iman Shumpert also tore his ACL on Saturday, adding to a list of major injuries that included season-ending back surgery for the Orlando Magic's Dwight Howard.

Some players have speculated that a season that was reduced from 82 games to 66 with one day off between the regular season and playoffs played a role.

"When anything happens, that's going to happen," Stern said of people trying to find a cause-and-effect relationship. "But I was just reading something from a doctor who said that he just doesn't believe it. There's no evidence that the wear and tear ... and on Derrick it's kind of interesting, it was horrible to watch, but he was out. He missed 27 games earlier this year, so he only played in 40 of those games that we had in this quote condensed schedule. So what's your suggestion?"

Some have suggested it was the truncated training camp and fewer days to rest that contributed to injuries. Rose missed just five games in his first three seasons. He then suffered turf toe, back spasms, a pulled groin and a foot injury before tearing his ACL this season.

"When you think about it, that's the only thing that changed," Rose said about the schedule recently. "The way I work out is usually the same, even though I ran more than I usually did in the past. But I really don't know what to blame it on. Where they're just like freak accident, freak injuries, where it's just happening."

Philadelphia 76ers coach Doug Collins said Monday he has no doubt the schedule contributed to the injuries.

"I don't think there's any question," Collins said. "The wear and tear -- I don't think there's any question, the fatigue. What happens during the playoffs, it gets ratcheted up even more. All of a sudden in two games, you've seen Shumpert, D-Rose. Howard was out before the playoffs started. Caron Butler broke a hand last night.

"Now, these things all could have happened. Who knows? But I think the wear and tear, there's no question, it has taken its toll."

Knicks guard Baron Davis, who is battling a back injury in the playoffs, thinks the schedule is definitely hurting players.

"This has been a compressed season, a lot more games, a lot less practice time, a lot less recovery time," he said. "You can definitely look at the season and just look at the schedule and say that guys really never got the ample amount of time to rest and heal their bones because you're fighting for playoff position. It's game after game after game. So, you know, it's tough. But there's injuries, there's freak injuries in basketball that's always happening."

Despite the league saying that the injury rate is about the same as most seasons this year, Lakers coach Mike Brown agrees with Davis.

"I believe [the schedule has hurt], but it's nothing medical or anything like that," he said, according to Hoopsworld.com. "I have nowhere near the knowledge where I probably even shouldn't be making the statement. But yeah, I think so. A shortened season, a lot of games in a short amount of time, your body changes and stuff like that, you never know. I've just seen a lot of injuries this whole year, and I think it probably has to do with playing a lot of games in a short amount of time."

Dr. David Altchek disagrees. Altchek is from the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York and is a consultant for the NBA and has operated on players such as Josh Howard, David West and Purdue's Robbie Hummel.

"There is no evidence that wear and tear, or that kind of issue, playing too much, really has any correlation with ACL injuries in any sport that we've ever studied," Altchek said Sunday. "In fact, I think if you're tired [from a condensed schedule], you're a lot less likely to tear your ACL because you're not going to be as explosive."

Still, players such as Rip Hamilton predicted before the season that the NBA was going to be in store for an increase in injuries because of the schedule.

Stern said it's something the NBA will consider after the season.

"I think it's still worthy of our study at season's end to see how that just works out," Stern said. "We want to find out if we can learn something from this. But basically in most years we average about five ACLs, and prior to this year's playoffs we had three, from a schedule where we played two more games a month."

Information from The Associated Press, ESPNChicago.com's Michael Wilbon and Scott Powers was used in this report.