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NBA reportedly tells teams: Load management = rest

NBA: NOV 24 Pelicans at Clippers

LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 24:LA Clippers forward Kawhi Leonard (2) before the New Orleans vs LA Clippers NBA basketball game on November 24, 2019, at Staples Center Los Angeles, CA. (Photo by Jevone Moore/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Clippers sitting Kawhi Leonard for a nationally televised game against the Bucks due to load management earlier this month? Acceptable.

The Clippers saying Leonard was healthy for that game? Unacceptable.

The NBA’s seemingly mixed message led to significant confusion. Just what is the difference between load management and rest?

Zach Lowe of ESPN:

The league outlined new guidelines for injury reporting in a Nov. 11 memo to teams, a copy of which was obtained by ESPN.

The short version: Load management is now rest. Period. If you see that term, it will mean a healthy player is taking the night off. If skipping that particular game violates the league’s resting policy, that player’s team will be penalized.

I’m glad the NBA clarified this. Most people already viewed “load management” as a fancy synonym for rest. Though it can be a more holistic approach to regulating the wear and tear on a player, the term most often comes up publicly as a reason for a player to miss a game.

Sometimes, players rest. We should know when it’s happening. This makes it far simpler.

That’s not to say simple. We tend to think of players being injured until they’re not. Leonard is apparently healthy enough to play most games, but not healthy enough to play both legs of a back-to-back. At least that’s how the Clippers are operating with the NBA’s approval. But it’s seemingly not as if he aggravates his knee injury whenever he plays. It’s the same injury. Sometimes, he plays through it. Sometimes, he doesn’t. Whether those games off are due to injury or rest is a semantics debate.

At least this is progress in teams communicating players’ status to the public.