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Phoenix the league’s healthiest team

Apr 19, 2012, 5:19 PM EDT

Steve Nash, Earl Watson AP

From Basketball Prospectus’ Kevin Pelton:

In analyzing why the Phoenix Suns have exceeded expectations by staying in the playoff race through the season’s final week, the training room is a good place to start. There’s likely to be plenty of room, because the Suns are enjoying one of the healthiest seasons in NBA history. Combined, the entire Phoenix roster has missed just 18 games to injury all year. That’s fewer than 55 different players in the league have missed all by themselves.

During a compact schedule that has tested depth around the league, Alvin Gentry has had the luxury of relying on a full complement of players nearly every night. The impact of the Suns’ terrific health has been crucial to the playoff race. Consider that Phoenix has lost just 521 player minutes (calculated by multiplying minutes per game when healthy by games missed) compared to the league average of 2,245. That’s an average of 28.7 minutes per game the Suns haven’t had to call on deep reserves rather than rotation players.

Suns players have only missed 18 total games this season: Grant Hill has missed 12 games, Steve Nash has missed 4, and Markieff Morris and Jared Dudley have missed a game apiece. That’s fairly incredible in today’s NBA, and as Pelton notes, it probably has a lot to do with the Suns’ well-regarded training staff, who use cutting-edge practices to keep their players on the court.

It’s clear by now that the Suns aren’t just getting lucky with player health — their training staff seems to be a step ahead of most other staffs in the league, and teams having health troubles should look at Phoenix as an example of how they can do better. Click through to the full article to see some very informative graphs, courtesy of Piston Powered’s Dan Feldman, that illustrate how healthy or unhealthy each team in the league has been this season.

  1. Justin - Apr 19, 2012 at 6:10 PM

    On the flip side I have to say the Timberwolves have to be the least healthy team this year. 4 of 5 starters have all missed time. Golden State might be up there too.

    • Justin - Apr 19, 2012 at 6:13 PM

      Hmm low and behold you click the article and it has every team ranked. Minnesota 19th. Golden State is 29th. I stand corrected.

      • Josh - Apr 19, 2012 at 8:23 PM

        Thats over the past 3 yrs combined. This year Minnesota is 29th and Golden State is 16th

      • Justin - Apr 19, 2012 at 9:25 PM

        Wow touche. I guess my first statement was accurate. The original one about Golden State was just a shot in the dark really.

  2. franchiseplaya - Apr 20, 2012 at 10:13 AM

    The Suns staff has been top notch the way they’ve kept Nash motoring despite his back problems. don’t forget that while Shaq didn’t necessarily fit their roster, but they got him healthy during his time there as well.

  3. lionsdetroitcom - Apr 24, 2012 at 2:25 PM

    Health is not going to be as huge of a factor this year with the shortened season though… Spurs are coming out of the West regardless.

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