Before the season, Will Carroll, SI.com’s resident injury expert, warned in this space against assuming that the lockout — and the resulting lack of training camp and compressed schedule — would lead to an increase in the number of injuries to NBA players. Injuries might well jump over last year’s level, Carroll wrote, but such a jump could stem from randomness or some other factor, and not the lockout. The NFL saw no increase in injuries during its lockout-impacted 2011 season, according to Carroll’s work.
Now that the season is almost over, Kevin Pelton of Basketball Prospectus and a couple of researchers have put together an absolutely must-read post charting the number of games lost to injury so far this season. And guess what? Here’s Pelton:
Conventional wisdom has it that injuries are up this season because of the schedule and limited training camp, a notion for which I found some support in mid-January. With a handful of games remaining for each team, however, that no longer appears to be the case. There have been an average of 3.2 games lost to injury per scheduled game — that is, about three players are sitting out due to injury between the two teams in any given game. That’s actually down slightly from the average of 3.6 per game in 2010-11 and 3.4 in 2009-10. The average minutes lost per game (73.9) is closer to last season’s figure (74.3) and up from 2009-10 (73.3), but the numbers I’ve compiled simply don’t back up the notion that players are getting hurt more frequently.
There is much, much more over at Pelton’s full post, including:
• More details on the rate of injuries this season
• A handy chart of how many games and minutes (based on a player’s average minutes per game when healthy) each of the league’s 30 teams have missed due to injury over the last three seasons. The data here shows how the number of injuries among the same general roster of players can fluctuate wildly from one year to the next, though it also suggests one team has either discovered something about injury prevention or is on a long run of extraordinary good luck. Find out where your favorite team ranks. Read More…