The Injury Pandemic


Many injuries have plagued this NBA season, with Jamal Murray’s being the latest and to potentially devastating effect for the Nuggets. (Courtesy of Twitter)

LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Anthony Davis, Joel Embiid, James Harden and Stephen Curry are only a select few of the extended list of star players that have fallen victim to widespread injuries in the NBA. From high ankle sprains and re-aggravated Achilles to bruised tailbones, any degree of a substantial injury poses many unfortunate concerns for the players themselves and their respective teams’ success while they’re sidelined. The injury bug is notoriously apparent this season. 

In recent years, the league has investigated load management issues which revealed that teams were resting healthy players, especially for nationally televised games. Although this decision was questionable as it angered many fans who paid the admission to watch their favorite players sit on the bench, perhaps there is logic behind that rationale. 

With the injury plague affecting all dimensions of the game, there are some possible explanations for why we are witnessing fan-favorite players wincing in pain and being helped off the court into the locker room. We are still adapting to a world revolutionized by the COVID-19 pandemic. The decision for league officials to continue with a regular-season comes with several consequences. 

The current season is shortened to 72 games instead of the traditional 82, so teams have games scheduled for every other day along with more frequent back-to-backs. Dealing with COVID-19 health and safety protocols has already been a challenge for many players; the increased intensity of games and less time to rehabilitate has undoubtedly adversely impacted the maintenance of their bodies. 

One of the most recent players struck by injury is Denver Nuggets star guard Jamal Murray. At 24 years old, Murray has proven that he is a future All-Star in the making. Showcasing his scoring prowess with a career-high 50 point game during the comeback run to win the series down 3-1 against Donovan Mitchell and the Jazz, his stardom is an essential piece to Nuggets’ title run. 

 The Nuggets currently hold the fourth seed in the Western Conference with a 34-20 record. With Aaron Gordon’s acquisition, the team is now more equipped to compete with other juggernauts and go on a deep playoff run, especially when led by potential MVP candidate Nikola Jokic. 

However, in Monday night’s contest against the Warriors, the star guard suffered a torn ACL in his left knee in the final moments of the fourth quarter. Murray will likely miss the rest of the season, with the league and fans sending its prayers wishing for a speedy recovery. 

Murray’s absence poses many unfortunate concerns for the Nuggets organization. Has their championship aspirations been shattered? Or can Jokic’s MVP season still lead them to the promised land?

Injuries to any degree are despised, primarily when they occur to players of Murray’s caliber. With star players sidelined, teams like the Los Angeles Lakers and now the Nuggets are concerned about securing their positions in the standings. The last thing a title-contending team wants is to drop to the seven of 11th seeds, especially in the West. With potent teams like the Warriors, New Orleans Pelicans and Dallas Mavericks lurking, a play-in game will jeopardize the chances of even making the playoffs for teams with star players on the injury list.