Los Angeles Lakers head athletic trainer Nina Hsieh has spent two years in her role with the team. The first year could not have gone better, as the Lakers remained relatively healthy en route to winning the franchise’s 17th NBA championship.
However, a deeply shortened offseason and a condensed schedule ensured that Hseih’s job would get much harder.
In the 2020-21 season, the Lakers missed a total of 201 games — via Spotrac data — due to injury, which was fourth-most among playoff teams. They also lost LeBron James and Anthony Davis for long periods of time due to significant injury.
It also didn’t get better once the postseason started as Davis, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Alex Caruso were hobbled while in and out of the lineup.
Because of this, the Lakers made the decision not to renew Hsieh’s contract and begin the search for the third head athletic trainer since the retirement of Gary Vitti, according to Dave McMenamin of ESPN:
The Los Angeles Lakers are on the market looking to hire a new head athletic trainer after injuries ravaged their 2020-21 season.
Nina Hsieh, promoted to head trainer two years ago, did not have her contract renewed, sources told ESPN.
Health is a major factor for teams looking to make deep postseason runs on an annual basis. This is especially true when one of the Lakers stars is Davis, a player with a history of nagging injuries. L.A. is not just finding a replacement for Hsieh, their goal is to completely re-work the team’s approach to player health.
There’s always a chance that all of the health issues were directly correlated to being in the bubble and having a shortened offseason. However, continuing with the same staff with that mindset was clearly not a risk the Lakers felt was worth taking.
Hopefully, they can do some digging to find the root cause of their injury problems to return better and stronger in the 2021-22 season.
Davis gives update on groin injury
In one playoff series, Davis dealt with knee and groin injuries. The latter was ultimately what knocked him out for the season, but he is apparently healing well. Davis gave an update on his injury, saying that he’s feeling much better and that he and the Lakers will be ready to go for next season.
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