David Stern and a noted surgeon say lockout schedule not behind ACL tears

When Derrick Rose, one of the league's most exciting and likeable superstars went down with an ACL tear on Saturday, we, and by we, I mean anyone who enjoys basketball, needed to blame someone. Losing Rose's high-flying brilliance in the games that matter is a crushing disappointment. Then Iman Shumpert went down. Something had to be happening. It was an epdemic. So we turned our eye to the lockout schedule. 

Surely the brutal games upon games upon games were to blame for players' bodies breaking down. There had to be a culprit. And the exhausting schedule that has impacted players' endurance, rest, and health this season was the easiest to pin. 

NBA Commissioner David Stern said Monday that he doesn't believe that the schedule was behind either of the injuries. From ESPN:

"When anything happens, thats going to happen," Stern said of people trying to find a cause-and-effect relationship. "But I was just reading something from a doctor who said that he just doesnt believe it. Theres no evidence that the wear and tear ... and on Derrick its kind of interesting, it was horrible to watch, but he was out. He missed 27 games earlier this year, so he only played in 40 of those games that we had in this quote condensed schedule. So whats your suggestion?"

via David Stern said schedule not related to injuries to Derrick Rose, others - ESPN Chicago.

On Sunday, a noted surgeon spoke with the AP and confirmed Stern's viewpoint, saying that no scientific evidence supports the claim that the schedule had an impact. From the AP: 

"There is no evidence that wear and tear, or that kind of issue, playing too much, really has any correlation with ACL injuries in any sport that weve ever studied," Dr. David Altchek from the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York said Sunday.

...Altchek argues that too much playing could actually make a player less susceptible to the injuries that Rose and Shumpert sustained, because they might lack the type of explosiveness it takes to blow out a knee ligament.

"In fact, I think if youre tired, youre a lot less likely to tear your ACL because youre not going to be as explosive," said Altchek, who has operated on players such as Josh Howard, David West and Purdues Robbie Hummel, and been a consultant for the NBA.

via The-Daily-Record.com - Breaking News, World & Local News, Sports & Multimedia.

ACL tears are generally considered "freak" injuries. If we start assigning cause to them, are we going to do the same when there's not a lockout season to blame it on? Is it going to become a question of conditioning, or diet? These injuries have happened throughout the history of the league. Stern told ESPN Radio that the league averages five ACL tears a season, and that there had been three going into the playoffs. These injuries have always occurred.

The lockout shortened season definitely affected players' health and recovery time. But there's just no evidence, outside of our desire to assign "common sense" to random physical incidents that the brutally disappointing injuries to Rose and Shumpert were the result of the schedule. There's a lot to hate about the lockout. This isn't one of them.  

CBS Sports Writer

Matt Moore's colleagues have been known to describe him as a "maniac" in terms of his approach to covering the NBA, which he has done for CBS Sports since 2010. Moore prides himself on melding reporting,... Full Bio

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