Why Do NBA Players Always Get Injured? (We Found Out Why)

Why do NBA players always seem to get hurt nowadays?

Are they becoming soft, or is basketball becoming more competitive?

NBA players are always prone to injury due to them playing 82 games per season, accidents, and because the players are getting more competitive.

Although there are many more reasons, these are the main ones. Let’s see why exactly they’re getting hurt a lot.

Why do NBA Players Get Injured so Much?

Injuries are part of any sport, especially contact ones. Though basketball isn’t technically considered a contact sport, many physicalities are still involved.

This is why we often see injuries in the NBA. But what exactly are the causes of this? We found three main reasons:

1. They play a lot of games

Each NBA team plays 82 games in a season, with the potential to play 28 games in the playoffs.

This alone can take a toll on anyone’s body, even world-class athletes. Coupled with pre-season games and the All-Star, things can get hectic.

Playing many games will undoubtedly make their bodies more susceptible to injuries. The fatigue will remain even if they have the perfect conditioning, workouts, and preventive measures.

2. Accidents

Injuries are usually accidental. They can result from a bad fall, a collision with another player, or rarely a flagrant foul.

There are many ways that an NBA player can get injured on the court. In any given game, there’s a chance that a player or two will get hurt.

Accidents are part of the game, so players will always try to protect themselves. This is one of the reasons why players fall so much.

They try to save their body by dropping perfectly instead of awkwardly.

But no matter what precautions they might take, there are still risks of injuries.

3. The NBA is Competitive

The league has gotten more competitive and talented over the years. We can see the explosive growth of skills among young talents throughout the seasons.

Now, you can’t expect modern players to play like players in the 60s. As such, basketball sets and plays have become more complicated.

Players move so much to create separation from players and to score. Players have also improved their defense drastically. They don’t allow easy buckets now since their skills are more advanced.

The games are also noticeably much faster now compared to back then. You’ll see a lot of explosive moves to the basket often now, which are risky.

When you play in a competitive league like the NBA, the risk of injury will be higher.

Average Number of Injuries Per Season

In one study conducted, it was found that there’s an average of 886 unique injuries per NBA season.

Just look at any given game today, and you’ll see that at least one player is out for the game.

So, when we look at the numbers, injuries really are part of the game. They account for this and expect injuries every season.

Photo by Eric Kilby

But during the 2020-2021 season, there was an increased number of injuries at the height of the pandemic.

This was because the NBA compressed the season to prevent more contact from players.

But this resulted in more fatigue for players since they play the usual games in less time. So, their bodies didn’t have a lot of time to recover.

Why do NBA Players Get Injured More Now than Ever Before?

There’s a lot of discussion on NBA injuries. Many people seem to believe that more NBA players are now getting injured than ever.

Since there’s a lack of data on the number of injuries sustained by the older generation, we can only rely on our observation.

We can’t deny the fact that more and more players are getting injured nowadays.

But there are actually a lot of factors at play here. We can’t just point to a single element, which most people believe to be because the players are softer now.

Here are the factors that we believe contribute to more injuries now:

  • More competitive games
  • More games are being played
  • Lack of strength training
  • More complicated moves being popularized
  • Too much load management

Whether you agree with these factors or not, the fact remains that NBA players get injured a lot.

These are just the observations of many. But we can’t deny that any sport will always have injuries, especially basketball.

Load Management – What is it?

With the rise of injuries over the past years, players have begun to take on ‘load management tactics. But what exactly is it?

Simply put, it’s the practice of monitoring and restricting a player’s physical activity to maximize rest.

Players will do this by not playing all 82 games in a season. Or they will refrain from playing in the preseason and miss practices.

They can also reduce the player’s playing minutes.

Kawhi Leonard is probably the one NBA player who popularized this practice. But the problem is he missed so many games due to injuries which is ironic.

Now, the NBA has put up countermeasures to prohibit load management. This is for teams that are explicitly resting healthy players during high-profile games. They will impose heavy fines for this policy.

Most Injury Prone Players

Over the years, we’ve seen a lot of NBA players’ careers get derailed by injuries. Derrick Rose was a prime example of this one.

But who exactly is the most injury prone superstars in today’s game?

1. Joel Embiid (Full Seasons: 0/6)

2. Kawhi Leonard (Full Seasons: 0/10)

3. Anthony Davis (Full Seasons: 0/9)

4. Kyrie Irving (Full Seasons: 0/10)

5. Kevin Durant (Full Seasons: 1/13)

6. Steph Curry (Full Seasons: 0/12)

7. LeBron James (Full Seasons: 1/18)

8. Giannis Antetokounmpo (Full Seasons 0/8)

9. James Harden (Full Seasons 3/14)

10. Damian Lillard (Full Seasons: 3/9)


Are NBA players still paid even when they’re injured?

Yes, they’re still paid as long as they were injured in a sports-related way. Most NBA contracts are guaranteed against injuries since these are naturally part of the game.

But they might pay a fine when injured while doing other physical activities. This includes playing in a pickup game outside of the NBA.

How long do players recover when injured?

The time of recovery from injury depends on the type and severity of the injury.

Injuries can take weeks, months, and even years to heal. Ultimately, the time will depend on how fast a player can recover. 

Who’s to blame when a player gets injured?

Most injuries in the NBA are accidental by nature. Basketball is a physical sport that involves a lot of running, contact, jumping, and diving.

Many things can go wrong on any given night. So, if the injury was accidental, there’s no one to blame.

But if a player purposely tried to injure another, then they may call a flagrant foul.


NBA players are getting injured due to a lot of reasons.

Although that is the case, the game is evolving and getting more competitive.

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4 thoughts on “Why Do NBA Players Always Get Injured? (We Found Out Why)”

  1. LOL – what a bunch of hogwash. If anything, the games are getting LESS competitive. No one plays defense anymore.

    • Yes that’s true, NBA players aren’t playing as much defense now as they did back then. But we can’t also deny that players are more skilled now than ever. We got teams shooting 43 threes a game now. That’s just how the game has evolved. Who knows, we might see teams actually play defense in the future if they can’t fight offense with offense anymore.

  2. hello, I was just wondering what was the date of this post. I’m using it as a part of research in using to discover why injuries are happening, if i could have the date and year of this post so i can properly reference it i would greatly apreciate it

    • Hi Jack, sure thing! Here you go –

      Title: Why Do NBA Players Always Get Injured? (We Found Out Why)
      Date Published: November 13, 2022

      I’d love it if you can include the link to the post in your research. Thank you so much!


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