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One scroll through the NBA’s daily injury report and you’ll see a who’s who of all-star caliber players with a designation of “questionable” or “out.” Yesterday, it was Giannis Antetokounmpo and Kevin Durant ruled out, with Paul George shedding a questionable tag to return from a five-game absence.
Today, it’s Donovan Mitchell and Tyrese Haliburton missing time, with Bradley Beal questionable but reportedly expected to return after missing five games. The list goes on.
In a lot of ways, the injuries are to be expected in a sport as taxing on the body as basketball, played just about every other day. But it can also be perplexing to people familiar with the access modern players have to the best in sports medicine. That was the point Stan Van Gundy was trying to make when he had this hilarious exchange with KD on Twitter.
— Kevin Durant (@KDTrey5) January 18, 2023
Stan, I agree with u lol
— Kevin Durant (@KDTrey5) January 18, 2023
Per Van Gundy, NBA players of the 1990s practiced harder and more often and had more back-to-backs in the schedule, yet they suffered injuries less frequently and missed fewer games than today’s players. It’s hard to know if players today actually are more injured, but KD agreed with SVG’s sentiment.
It certainly seems to be the case when you consider that at least 75 players played in at least 80 games every full season from 1990-99, and that number was down to 13 players last season. Though that could also be part of the modern strategy to reduce injuries. But if SVG is correct, it’s an issue that needs to be addressed.
As he clarified in his confusion over whether KD was in agreement, Durant’s leg injury was unavoidable — someone fell into him. But in theory, the frequency of soft tissue injuries like Mitchell’s groin and Beal’s hamstring shouldn’t be up from decades ago.
If they are, there’s a flaw either in how teams are training or players are preparing, or both, and it all contributes to a frustrating fan experience when nobody knows who’s going to be available.
— Prince J. Grimes
Some NBA goodness from around the USA TODAY Sports network.
Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports
John Wall has been all the talk on NBA Twitter the last 24 hours since the release of his incredibly candid appearance on the Run Your Race podcast.
He made a few eye-opening comments on the show, including the stories of how his time with the Wizards came to an end and this hilariously unpleasant exchange with Tyler Hansbrough that contributed to his decision as a recruit not to attend North Carolina.
The stuff about his recent time with the Houston Rockets especially got my attention just because of how poorly run that organization seems to be. Wall became just the latest player to go on record about Jalen Green and Kevin Porter Jr.’s need for veteran leadership after Austin Rivers said similar things not long ago.
“I had to tell them, like, the [expletive] y’all getting away with over there, you go to any other team, you’d be out of the [expletive] league. Like, you wouldn’t play.”
It’s no wonder the Rockets are in the middle of an 11-game losing streak and have the worst record in the NBA.
(All odds via Tipico)
Dylan Buell/Getty Images
Cleveland Cavaliers (+240) at Memphis Grizzlies (-7.5, -290), O/U 227.5, 8 PM ET
The shorthanded Cavs are about to run into an absolute buzzsaw in Memphis, facing a Grizzlies team that has won 10 straight games. The Cavs are one of the best teams defending the paint, though, which is where Memphis scores the most. I’ll take the underdog to keep it tight and cover the 7.5-point spread.
— Wembenyama Wednesday: Vic might be seeing some future teammates live and in person soon
— This exchange with Markieff Morris had Jeremy Sochan hilariously describing himself as “cheeky”
— It sure sounds like Kyrie Irving and Nic Claxton are taking shots at ex-Net James Harden
— Brook Lopez has his own weird reason for ripping off Gary Trent Jr.’s headband
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Nikola Vucevic and the Chicago Bulls (20-24) meet Jaden Ivey and the Detroit Pistons (12-35) at AccorHotels Arena in Paris, France on Thursday, January 19 at 3:00 PM ET.The Bulls came out on top in their most recent game 132-118 against the Warriors on Sunday. The Pistons are coming off of a 117-104 loss to the Knicks in their most recent game on Sunday. In the Bulls’ win, Vucevic led the way with a team-high 43 points (adding 13 rebounds and four assists). The Pistons got a team-leading 21 points from Ivey in the loss.Tune in to fuboTV…
When you’ve impressed one of the best, that’s a good night.
The 20th-ranked Marquette Golden Eagles will host the 22nd-ranked Providence Friars in a Big East college basketball matchup. Marquette sits at 14-5 overall and 6-2 in the Big East, while Providence is 14-4 overall and 6-1 in the Big East.
This will be the second meeting between these two teams this season, with Providence coming out on top in the first matchup, winning 103-98 at their home court in December. The Friars will be looking to continue their success against Marquette, but the Golden Eagles will be looking for revenge and to secure a crucial conference win.
This will be a…
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