Injuries are a part of sports. No one is immune from them, whether it’s superstars or role players on the bench. Likewise, in the game of basketball, centers and forwards in particular appear to be most susceptible to lower body injuries due to the burden their size and weight puts on the lower joints.
Some former NBA big men that come to mind include former No. 1 picks Greg Oden and Yao Ming. Plagued by injuries, Oden’s career never got off the ground, and he only managed to play in 105 games over three seasons. Although Yao had a very successful eight-year NBA career when he was healthy, he was unfortunately injured quite often, especially during his prime years from 2005 to 2008. Current notable big men that are also world class talents but often find themselves sidelined due to injuries include Kristaps Porziņģis, Zion Williamson, and Anthony Davis.
Due to his unique size and frame, some are already labeling likely 2023 No. 1 pick and future Spur Victor Wembanyama as injury prone, which may have some fans anxious about his arrival to the Alamo City. That being said, he lacks a notable injury history so far, and that’s because, as Brian Windhorst and Jonathan Givony detail in an article on ESPN, he has had a strong support team over the years while playing professionally in France that closely monitors his food intake and hours of sleep everyday. Additionally, they have given him extensive, meticulous pre-game stretches and exercises meant to to strengthen his feet and align his core to further prevent injury.
“With shoes and socks off sitting on the floor, Alquier [Wembanyama’s trainer] has him crawl on his fingertips and toes in an effort to strengthen his core. Then there is the big toe: Alquier spends a lot of time working on the big toes...
Since he was 15, Wembanyama has been working to align his knees and learn how to land to soften the load.”
There’s plenty more details, such as how his team is making sure he doesn’t add weight too quickly to his still growing body, so be sure to check the entire article out. Based on this information, Spurs fans can ease up on the injury fears. Wembanyama has been seamlessly preparing his body and joints for his NBA debut since he was a young teenager and will surely continue these exercises throughout his career.
Although you can never completely prevent injuries, also consider the Spurs’ own successful history of managing and extending Tim Duncan’s career despite his numerous knee injuries and Gregg Popovich’s belief in player management, and Spurs fans can relax and get excited for this upcoming season without fearing for Wemby’s future before his NBA career has even begun.