It's not a new revelation that the NBA is a superstar driven league. There are only 13 guys on an active NBA roster, five to a side on the court, and if you're expected to win anything in this league, one of those guys needs to be a perennial, game changing talent.
So if these franchise centerfolds are so important, then why on Earth do people want to put them in harms way by rushing them back into action? Kevin Durant is the league's latest talent to take a hit. Back in October, Kevin Durant was diagnosed with a Jones fracture in his right foot, and given a 6-8 week timeframe for recovery. Jones fractures are known to be super fickle injuries with a tendency for re-occurrence, so giving Durant all the time in the world to recover seemed plausible. Except Durant returned closer to six weeks than eight, and here we are four months later talking about shutting him down for the season.
Regardless of how much ground your team needs to make up in the playoff race, or in basically any circumstance at all, the health of your players comes first and foremost.
Thank goodness the Sixers haven't forgotten that.
Philadelphia is dealing with two players, Joel Embiid and Nerlens Noel, that have had some pretty serious ailments. Both torn ACL's and navicular bone fractures are two injuries that could change the course of careers, provided they're not treated properly.
Despite all the Vine's and Instagram videos of both players doing jaw dropping activities, the idiotic jokes about the team holding them out so they can continue to lose, and even the itch from the players to get on the court, the Sixers have stuck to their guns.
There's no point in risking a player's career to get them in games that are meaningless in the grand scheme of things. Joel Embiid and Nerlens Noel's longterm health is crucial to the future success of this franchise, and playing them just for the sake of doing so would be very ill-advised.
For whatever reason, people seem to use the Sixers rehabilitation plan as one of the growing negatives against the franchise, and it's hard to understand why. The people who mourn the crumbling of Derrick Rose's health are the same ones who rebuked him for not playing in the 2013 playoffs. You can't have it both ways. Either protect the player, or risk harming him.
Maybe some won't ever learn to err on the side of caution. The Pacers are anticipating the return of Paul George this season, just seven months after suffering a gruesome broken leg.
But as long as this regime is in charge in Philadelphia, they'll make sure impactful players like Embiid and Noel are above and beyond healthy before they step on the court. It's the only way to protect a superstar.