L.A. Lakers Injuries: It’s Fair to Question Training Staff’s Effectiveness

Kobe Bryant's Achilles' heel might have been the downfall of the Los Angeles Lakers, but their metaphoric Achilles' heel this season has been injuries. Jeff Stotts of Rotowire was kind enough to supply me with a list, from his database of NBA injuries:

Kobe Bryant—ankle sprain, Achilles strain

Dwight Howard—torn shoulder labrum

Pau Gasol—plantar fasciitis, concussion

Steve Nash—broken leg, strained hip

Ron Artest—post-surgical knee

Steve Blake—strained abdominal

Earl Clark—strained groin

Chris Duhon—back spasms

Devin Ebanks—flu

Jordan Hill—post-surgical hip

Yes, 10 of the expected, active 12 missed games. Some missed a handful, some missed much of the season. In total, Lakers players missed 175 man-games or just over 17 percent. It looks and sounds like a lot, so let's take a deeper look to see what went wrong and well.

No seriously, it's OK to at least suggest the IDEA we should examine if the Lakers' staff is as good as its reputation, right? Right?

— Hardwood Paroxysm (@HPbasketball) April 25, 2013 OK, HP. Challenge accepted. 

Many are taking the easy route and looking at Gary Vitti and the Lakers medical staff.

Vitti is one of the longest tenured and best thought of athletic trainers in the NBA, so he'd likely welcome the scrutiny. If you want to go further than that, the Lakers have long been associated with the world-famous Kerlan-Jobe Clinic, home of some of the top orthopaedists in sports and in the country. 

Anyone doing an objective task of evaluating the job the medical staff is doing will have to consider not just the results and the body of work but another simple question.

If they fired the staff, could they find better?

It's possible but not very likely and certainly not very pract...

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