Following a Wednesday Twitter thread where LeBron James blamed a lack of rest and condensed schedule for a rash of injured stars during the playoffs, NBA officials responded by noting the injury rate in 2020-21 remains consistent with previous seasons.
NBA spokesman Mike Bass offered comment to Marc Stein of the New York Times shortly after James' public remarks.
Marc Stein @TheSteinLine
More from NBA spokesman Mike Bass to @NYTSports on criticism of this season's schedule registered today by LeBron James: <br><br>"While injuries are an unfortunate reality of our game, we recognize the enormous sacrifices NBA players and teams have made to play through this pandemic.”
Wednesday saw even more troubling news on the injury front as the Phoenix Suns placed Chris Paul in health and safety protocol, the Los Angeles Clippers are reportedly worried about Kawhi Leonard's ACL and the Brooklyn Nets continue to list Kyrie Irving on the injury report.
LeBron James @KingJames
They all didn’t wanna listen to me about the start of the season. I knew exactly what would happen. I only wanted to protect the well being of the players which ultimately is the PRODUCT & BENEFIT of OUR GAME! These injuries isn’t just “PART OF THE GAME”. It’s the lack of PURE
Following the pandemic-interrupted 2019-20 season, the NBA held its shortest offseason in league history with the 2020 Finals concluding on October 11 and the 2020-21 season beginning on December 22.
James tweeted that he understands all the business considerations that went into starting the season in December, but didn't believe that to be a good enough reason to not give players more rest.
The number of injuries has been cause for major concern during the postseason and remains one of the dominant storylines.
In the first round, both James and Anthony Davis were playing through injuries before falling to the Phoenix Suns. Paul himself dealt with a recurring shoulder injury during that series as well.
In Brooklyn, James Harden has struggled with a hamstring injury while the Denver Nuggets were just swept by the Suns following a season-ending knee injury to guard Jamal Murray toward the end of the regular season.
Virtually no contender has been spared from the rash of injuries. The NBA just doesn't believe this to be a singular phenomenon—publicly disagreeing with the league's most well-known star on the topic.