Basketball injuries? We need a new paradigm.

ON 3, KSR's parent company, published an excerpt from this 2019 ESPN article this morning:

EJ Montgomery came to UK as highly touted as almost any recruit. He had flashes but never lived up to his outsized expectations. He just didn’t have the hops you’d expect from his measurements and projections.

This article clearly explains why kids like EJ show up at major schools already injured.

Then, they are immediately immersed in crazy-intense weight training, 2 a day grueling practices and 24/7 high intensity lifestyles.

Currently, all 3 of UK’s point guards are not even practicing as the postseason begins.

Last season, we annihilated Kansas and North Carolina and looked like we’d win it all until all 3 guards were sidelined with overuse injuries and we whimpered into ignominy at the end of the season.

AD and Zion are mentioned in the article.

Last night, I saw Zion in "street clothes" and watched AD get nearly 30/20 while getting knocked on his ass and later punched in the face; bleeding profusely.

Both of them, and so many other chosen HS elites, started young and pounded non-stop on hardcourts and asphalt to the point of stress injuries that only got exacerbated in college.

I don’t think AD missed a game in his single year, but he grew nearly a foot in HS while getting beat up in practices, games and the ridiculous AAU and All Star events.

The pace, violence and back-breaking travel of the NBA makes it predictable that these guys will suffer significant damage.

It’s especially brutal for the behemoths, but no one escapes as we see with Steph, LBJ and the others.

LeBron does EVERYTHING (allegedly he invests more than $1MM yearly) available to prevent injury and keep his body injury proof. That’s worked well for a long time but all the slings and arrows have finally caught up with him, too.

I’d love to have the chance to put UK players on a new training paradigm.

FAR less pounding, far more yoga and flexibility and stretching and massage specific to the sport.

I’d have them doing most of their aerobics in warm water therapy pools and outdoors on level grass when it’s warm enough.

The idea we grew up with - no pain, no gain - has proven to be just plain stupid.

Yet, the coaches of Cal’s era ferociously cling to it despite seeing their players getting racked up as the season progresses; literally crippling the team’s chances to be at their best when it counts the most.

It should seem obvious by now that overuse syndrome should go the way of peach baskets; that coaches and trainers should easily see the train wrecks and their causes.

But, these highly specialized motor geniuses desperately want to play at the highest level; hell-bent to achieve their dreams at any cost.

They almost revere rehab as a badge of honor.

That is ass backwards as all evidence continues to confirm.

We now know why EJ Montgomery never dominated in college.

We know why Zion rides the pine instead of terrorizing opponents.

We hold our collective breath every time AD crashes to the court.

We see their Sisyphean struggles.

Surely, if we mere mortal fanatics can see it, their coaches and trainers can as well.

I like to think that the younger generation of athletic leaders will see the foolishness of pushing players until they break down in the name of "toughness" and "sacrificing their bodies" for the common good.

They are no good to anyone sipping on energy drinks in the ice baths and on training tables.

Let’s all hope that In basketball and in all sports at all levels, the shibboleths of machismo will soon be superseded by a new generation of both trainers and their uber-talented charges.

A generation who gets the reality that human body parts are neither disposable nor indestructible.

A generation who truly embraces the clinically proven advantages of rest and recovery.

A generation who makes the Cal Ripkens the rule and the Zion Williamsons the exception.