Los Angeles Lakers trainer Gary Vitti was arguably the busiest member of the entire Lakers staff this season. With nearly every member of the Lakers’ rotation going down with an injury at some point during the season, this year was an especially trying one for Vitti.
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When Kobe Bryant went down with a torn Achilles many people pointed to the extreme amount of minutes Bryant was playing as a main reason why his Achilles gave way.
In an interview with Lakers’ reporter Mike Trudell, Vitti broke down how minutes played contributes to injuries:
Are they hard, grind-out minutes? Are you putting players on the floor where they have to do too much because the other guys can’t help them? If you have guys in the post that an opponent has to double, it’s going to make for easier minutes for the perimeter players. If not, the perimeter guys have to work harder to get open. So, yes, playing more minutes can increase the chance something happens to cause an injury, but to what extent? […] As an athlete fatigues, he or she become more susceptible to injury. We know that. But it’s also about how much recovery time an athlete has. The three most important things are sleep, ice water immersion and nutrition. You don’t always have that available to you, although we try to create scenarios where they are.
These words would seem to apply to Bryant as he was putting the Lakers on his back for at least 40 minutes every night late in the season. However, Vitti also spoke about how Bryant is one of the best at always taking ice baths and has a much improved nutrition regiment the last couple of years.
With Dwight Howard continually exploring free agency options, Bryant may need to keep up all of those good habits otherwise he and Vitti may be spending some more quality time together.
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