This is a topic that keeps cropping up in my mind, and I finally decided to write about it.
Time and again, we've been seeing one injury after another either hamper a team's progress in the NBA, or decimate the team for a forseeable future, depending on who is injured, at any given time, and for how long a period.
A few random examples of many: Yao ming- Houston [ finished any hopes of a decent playoff run without him ]; Greg Oden [ from injury to injury, his future looks very uncertain ]; Elton Brand, Carlos boozer, Mike Miller, Udonis Haslem, Will Bynum, Kendrick Perkins [ possibly cost us banner no.18 ], and just yesterday Delonte West, who will be out with a compound wrist fracture [ compound- not simple, which means months lost, if not the season ].
I could go on and on, with a growing list of relatively minor and not so minor injuries that happen to many, if not all of the teams, at one point or another.
Apart from the NBA, is there any major sport that does not have some type of back up system, in order to help a team out when these types of injuries take place? In the NBA, there are 15 spots on the team roster, and that, basically, is that.
In major league baseball, teams have their farm system, and when someone, or more, gets on the disabled list, depending on the seriousness and length of injury, a call up is made for one or more players, and the game continues. There have even been notable cases in baseball, e.g., when a player filled in for an injured player, where he wound up taking his spot in the line up.
The NHL - hockey, where injuries take place on a regular basis, the farm system once again keeps the game going at a very high level [ sometimes there's a hit, and sometimes a miss, with regard to the reserve called up, but the game goes on ].
In the NFL, there's the taxi squad, which forms a full time practice unit with the main team, and when injuries take place, sometimes a member of the taxi squad gets to shine, and even make the team.
It has bothered me no end, that the NBA is the only major sport that has no real injury reserve system. Yes, there is the D- league, but rather than being able to put a player on a disabled list for 2 weeks, a month, 3 months, or even a season, and being able to draw on the D-league as needed, a roster spot has to be cleared. [ That means, that the injured team has to either keep an injured player on the roster, or remove him from the roster. ] The long term injury exception is the only real possibility to bring in another player, but that's only due to a season ending injury.
I believe that it is essential that a team with an injured player, should be able to bring in a replacement on a temporary basis, for as long as needed, and be able to return said player to his team in the D-league after that period is over. More than that, it should be possible for an injured player to be able to be sent to the D-league, in order to help him regain his form, even if for a brief period. This would of course depend on both the caliber of the player, and an executive decision on the part of the team.
What are your thoughts on the subject?
Lionel Gaffen / Fotomix