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If Stern penalizes players who sit to rest, watch “injuries” rise

Nov 30, 2012, 4:09 PM EDT

David Stern AP

Every action has an equal and opposite reaction.

David Stern has a lot of questions to answer if he is going to fine Gregg Popovich or Spurs owner Peter Holt for sitting Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili on Thursday night against the Heat. We have already covered those questions in detail.

It is within Stern’s right to make a league rule about playing healthy players (and 20 years ago he did fine Pat Riley for resting a healthy Magic Johnson in the final game of the season, although that same thing has gone unpunished since).

However, coaches want their players to rest. There are all kinds of studies that will show you rested players not only play better but also are less likely to be injured. They will find a way.

Brian Windhorst of ESPN was thinking along the same lines.

For years in the league, players that were not one of the 12 allowed to dress for each game had to be put on the injury list. To be put on the list officially teams had to announce an injury. In the absence of a legit condition, teams started routinely to announce players had been diagnosed with various forms of tendinitis.

If you researched the transactions from the 1990s and early 2000s, you’d have seen an incredible wave of patella tendinitis and Achilles tendinitis that sprawled across the NBA. Remarkably it often struck end of the roster players who rarely played. Thanks either to medical science or a change in paperwork, games missed due to such injuries have been eradicated like polio.

The magical cure was not a vaccination, but rather the league changed the rules so you could just designate a healthy player to sit.

But if Stern comes down on high with an edict about resting healthy players where fines could be forthcoming, suddenly the cases of tendonitis — or mild sprains, or other such maladies — will suddenly be on the rise again.

Just something to watch. Every action has an equal and opposite reaction.

  1. leeeroooyjeeenkiiins - Nov 30, 2012 at 4:43 PM

    Hey now, don’t let all that “logic” stuff get in the way of Emperor Stern and his vendetta to make the NBA into A star driven league! When only 5-6 teams per season are actually relevant, games like this are a really big deal in Stern’s world.

    Kind of funny how he’s all up in arms about the product on the court for one regular season game, when only 8 franchises have EVER won a title during his 28 years as commissioner. The other 3 major sports leagues have had that many or more in just the past 10.

  2. tubal22 - Nov 30, 2012 at 4:50 PM

    I’m confident that we’re going to get an injury list in the NBA now. A team will have to report to the NBA in advance if any player is not going to travel with the team. And if a player doesn’t travel with the team for injury reasons, they will be forced to sit out a certain amount of time to prevent “fake” injuries.

    If they would have dressed and sat on the bench, or even didn’t dress and sat on the bench, I don’t think it would have been as big of a deal. But sending them home in the middle of a road trip just to rest them for the next game kind of crapped on the fans, the sponsors, and most importantly, David Stern.

    The fans pay billions of dollars to watch these guys play, and the players are paid millions of dollars to show up and play. I don’t think taking games off should be an option in the NBA, especially 18 games into the season.

  3. albertmn - Nov 30, 2012 at 5:13 PM

    Stern should have just shut his mouth until he had more time to look into this. If anything, he should have talked to Spurs ownership behind the scenes to try to pressure them to ask/force Pop to at least not sit them all during the same game. If their Big 3 would each have sat out different games, so at least two were on the court each game, would anyone be complaining?

    That said, it should be the Spurs’ right to manage their team however they want. Especially when Pop has done this before and no one complained.

    • frank433 - Nov 30, 2012 at 6:46 PM

      Why would Pop do that? Resting all 3 in 1 game only lowers your chance to win in 1 game, not 3 games.

  4. jordanismyidol - Nov 30, 2012 at 5:22 PM

    Im actually with stern on this one. If your healthy enough to play then dont be a wuss and fukkin play

  5. cantonbound13 - Nov 30, 2012 at 5:23 PM

    Maybe Stern should talk to the clown that does the schedule. The Heat had nearly a week off while the Spurs played all those games.

  6. Eberwizzle - Nov 30, 2012 at 5:30 PM

    SHUT UP STERN!!! San Antonio has made the playoffs every yeear but ONE 1988 and have won 4 championships in 14 years. THEY’RE DOING SOMETHING RIGHT!!!!!!!

    • Eberwizzle - Nov 30, 2012 at 5:31 PM

      ….but one since 1988…..

  7. BigBeachBall - Nov 30, 2012 at 5:55 PM

    duncan, parker, and ginobili were sent “home”….

    was it a retirement home?

    • scalfor3 - Dec 1, 2012 at 1:27 PM

      HA HA HA

  8. eugenesaxe - Nov 30, 2012 at 6:21 PM

    1-Pop’s better at his job than Stern is at his, maybe Stern should butt out.
    2-Has Stern ever punished a team for tanking at season’s end? Yet he get all pissy when SA almost beats the defending champs with their second team?
    3-Pop’s allegiance is to the Spurs and their fans. No one else.
    4-Stern should just retire now, he’s embarrassing himself here.

  9. glink123 - Nov 30, 2012 at 6:41 PM

    Don’t discount the “integrity of the game” issue here. I mean, consider the scenario of the upcoming Heat game in San Antonio on March 31st. What’s to prevent Eric Spoelstra from placing a $5 million dollar bet on the Rockets for that game, and then sending James, Wade, and Bosh home for the night? The whole issue of Vegas gambling on NBA games, plus the incident of former NBA referee Tim Donaghy and his comments about games being fixed in the league. Stern HAD to come down hard on this.

  10. hawk4life80 - Nov 30, 2012 at 6:50 PM

    This is just another example of the pussification of this country coming into the sports world. It’s entertainment people it’s a business, and the spurs are a company, they can do want they want, and rest who they want!!!!!
    All of these fines in the NFL, and now this, it’s getting ridicules. I’m sorry but not everyone gets a trophy in life.

  11. hawk4life80 - Nov 30, 2012 at 6:53 PM

    Well you bet on games at your own risk, I don’t have a gambling problem, maybe people out there shouldn’t either!!!!

  12. mashoaf - Nov 30, 2012 at 8:12 PM

    I hope Pop tells the media, the next time he rest his starters, that they are out with Sternum injuries…

  13. paulwoodsby - Dec 1, 2012 at 12:46 AM

    Stop assuming the players wanted a day off. They are too competitive and have too much integrity to not take every game seriously. I’m not sure what Pop’s actual reasons were but don’t blame the players or the organization.

    Stern shouldn’t have the power to pick and choose what scenarios he’s against and which ones don’t matter.

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