Several NBA general managers and team health officials say the unorthodox and compressed schedule, attempting to make up games postponed due to COVID-related issues, has led to a rash of injuries around the league, with several teams fearing player health has reached a boiling point.
These concerns have been voiced in interviews with ESPN by a number of GMs, members of coaching staffs and athletic training staffers, though there is universal acknowledgment that the schedule is the byproduct of the coronavirus pandemic.
"Hands down, it's the worst schedule I've seen in 25 years in the league," said one veteran assistant coach. "It's utterly insane."
One veteran NBA head coach called it "brutal."
One veteran NBA head athletic trainer said it's far worse than the Orlando bubble.
"Going into the bubble, we had all these different anxieties about the games, but without travel," the head athletic trainer said. "This is literally exponentially more difficult. It's such a cumulative effect."
Added one NBA GM, "I've never experienced anything like our injury spate."
While drawing cause-and-effect correlations to injuries is complicated, a number of executives and team health officials point to the abbreviated schedule and say the two issues are, at the very least, related.
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, 2021 All-Stars have missed 15% of games this season, on pace to be the second-highest rate in NBA history. The only season that saw a higher rate was the 2014-15 season (16.8%).