NBA claims no link between load management and injury risk in report

League-funded study supports the NBA's desire to end load management.

ESPN's Tim Bontemps reports that the league's analytical report to teams this week found no link between load management and its main purpose, injury prevention.

The report is the NBA's latest attempt to stop great players from sitting out games to decrease their workload. Last decade's load management boom has prevented fans from seeing their favorite stars in numerous games.

Last year, the league began fining clubs $100,000 to $1 million for resting players during nationally broadcast games. Players must now play 65 games to be eligible for regular-season accolades, including All-NBA.

IQVIA Injury Surveillance & Analytics epidemiologist and chief scientific officer Christina Mack allegedly wrote the 57-page study released this week. Mack says she wanted to see if injuries were linked to game frequency, scheduled density, and cumulative involvement.

An alleged 10-year sample of 150 "starter-level" players from 2013-14 to 2022-23 supported these conclusions. Players named to an All-Star team in the previous three seasons, top-10 choices in that season's NBA Draft, and the remaining players with the most minutes played in the previous seasons were included.

Whether this changes NBA procedures is unknown. First, numerous teams may have researched this material and reached a different conclusion.

Some clubs and players may disagree with our load management definition. Kawhi Leonard of the Los Angeles Clippers has disputed his image as the NBA's load manager, citing his numerous lost games due to injury.

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