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Winderman: So who backs out of All-Star Game as “injured?”

Feb 21, 2012, 1:04 PM EST

Indiana Pacers v Atlanta Hawks Getty Images

It certainly will not reach the point of the Pro Bowl, where many are chosen but few elect to serve.

But the impending All-Star Weekend comes at the time when the entire injury-ravaged, schedule-drained NBA could use a four-day break.

For most of the league, that will be the case, with no games scheduled Friday, Saturday, Sunday or Monday.

But for those committed to Orlando, the break will still require at least suiting up and going through the motions.

All of which could make the next few days a bit curious. Basically, the implied rule is if you play in your team’s final game before the break and you’ve been selected to participate in All-Star Weekend, well, pack your bags, and show up at Friday’s interview sessions or be fined.

Now Joe Johnson looks like he’s out of the Hawks’ Wednesday home game against the Knicks. That could create the first of many voids.

It would be difficult to argue that Derrick Rose, amid his lingering back issues, wouldn’t be better served with four days in traction (OK, or at least four days in the Caribbean). Of course, with Tom Thibodeau coaching the East, Rose could be limited merely to the opening tip before Thibs runs LeBron, Wade and Bosh into the ground.

In many ways, the NBA All-Star Game is like the Pro Bowl in that the honor is in the selection (the new collective-bargaining agreement actually provides rookie-scale incentives with a mere selection).

Put the All-Star Game in L.A. or Vegas or Atlanta, and attendance is not an issue.

But we’re talking Orlando, where Church Street hardly rivals South Beach (but is a short flight way, hmm.)

What the NBA needs is a four-day break. More to the point, what it needed, was having these four days available to allow for games to be more evenly spaced in this lockout-compressed schedule (but we appreciate that marking rules all).

For players such as Manu Ginobili, Kevin Garnett, Ty Lawson, the break comes at a perfect time, providing a period for healing without additional lost time.

But when the schedule resumes, it resumes with its typical 2011-12 fury, nine games the first day back, next Tuesday, followed by 12 on Feb. 29.

So keep an eye on those ankles and quads and tendons. Because this is a league about to enter a homestretch like no other in recent seasons, where four days at home on the sofa could prove to be the most valuable of all All-Star experiences.

Ira Winderman writes regularly for NBCSports.com and covers the Heat and the NBA for the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. You can follow him on Twitter at @IraHeatBeat.

  1. rooney24 - Feb 21, 2012 at 6:17 PM

    Am I the only one getting tired of all these stories about the compressed schedule and how tired these guys are? They have maybe 3-5 games a week, which lasts a few hours, maybe a practice or two, and only have to work a few months this year. And, they do this for millions of dollars. Most of us work 40-50 hours every week, for a small fraction of that money, with maybe a few weeks off each year (not a few months). And, we don’t get a built in excuse of a compressed schedule to not do our jobs well.

    Buck up, play hard, and quite whining about the schedule.

    • philtration - Feb 21, 2012 at 8:52 PM

      So true.
      I am working 10 hours a day every day this week and another 12 on Saturday.
      I can barely take a 15 minute lunch.

    • trimaster1 - Feb 22, 2012 at 12:41 PM

      Aside from the money aspect, tired is one thing, injured is another. The body needs time to rest & recover between “games.”

      Not to mention the travel that takes place between games.

      Looking at the list of injured athletes gives validity to their claims about the schedule being tough. These guys are people, not machines. Overuse leads to injuries, wheter you’re a weekend warrior or pro athlete.

  2. losangelasbasketball - Feb 21, 2012 at 9:32 PM

    The Multimillionaires are tired… Great story bro… Now politely excuse yourself from the sports news occupation….

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