Days after Russell Westbrook underwent knee surgery and it was announced Al Horford would be out indefinitely due to a torn pectoral muscle, NBA commissioner David Stern said the league would finally adjust the settings on the 2013-14 season, turning off injuries.
The decision comes too late for the Bulls, Lakers, Thunder, Hawks, Grizzlies, Celtics, Knicks, Nets and Hawks, all of whom are currently missing former All-Stars from their lineup, but will prevent any further injuries to an already depleted league.
“We realized we had to take immediate action if we wanted to have enough players left to contest the remainder of the regular season, not to mention our endless postseason,” Stern said.
The new policy went into place over the weekend, allowing Bradley Beal to avoid any injury to his knee. An MRI was performed as a precaution, but Beal was fine and immediately cleared to play.
Some front office executives have complained privately that the new league settings unfairly favor teams like the Pacers, who have a full complement of healthy players. Additionally, some scouts are concerned that the Heat may gain an advantage now that reserve center Greg Oden cannot be injured.
“That team is already too stacked as it is,” an anonymous Eastern Conference scout said. “Now they can play Oden as much as they want without any fear of him getting hurt? It’s nonsense, and I’m pretty sure it violates the laws of physics.”
Stern said the league would begin marketing the new “injury-free” NBA heavily following the NFL’s Super Bowl, which is when most casual fans begin paying attention to basketball again. He added that incoming commissioner Adam Silver was considering making other settings adjustments, including turning the dunk sliders up and officially turning off traveling violations.
The Lakers’ request to have the season reset and the salary cap turned off was denied.
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