Los Angeles Lakers head trainer Nina Hsieh reportedly did not have her contract renewed following the 2020-21 season, according to Dave McMenamin of ESPN on Saturday.
That followed a season that saw the team's players miss a combined 201 games, with high-profile absences from LeBron James and Anthony Davis during the regular season. The latter also missed time in the first-round playoff exit vs. the Phoenix Suns.
Per McMenamin, "More changes are expected as the team is in the process of restructuring its approach to player health, sources told ESPN."
While Hsieh may take the fall, it's hard to ignore that James is 36 and has missed 27 games in two of the past three seasons, or that Davis has been prone to injuries in the past and has never played more than 75 games in a season.
And then there's the major elephant in the room, the compressed NBA schedule this season that has been widely blamed for the rash of injuries to star players throughout the regular season and playoffs.
James made his thoughts known on the compressed schedule this past week:
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
Granted, injuries have been a major storyline in recent years for the Lakers. As McMenamin noted, it's "the second time in the past three years the Lakers have parted ways with their head athletic trainer. Los Angeles let Marco Nunez go in April 2019 after three years at the helm after a season in which Lakers players lost 212 games because of injury."
It's been the best of times and worst of times during James' three years in Los Angeles, with a title sandwiched by two injury-ravaged years for both him and the Lakers.
Changes are reportedly coming within the organization, but factors outside the control of the training staff shoulder at least some of the blame for the Lakers' injury woes in 2020-21.