The Most Common Injuries Suffered by NBA Players

The National Basketball Association (NBA) is a wonderful sports league; but like any high level of sports, injuries are commonplace. Even though basketball is not the contact sport that, say, football is, injuries are still a daily occurrence in professional basketball. It is not hard to understand why: extremely athletic players are accelerating, breaking, and turning at sharp angles as quickly as they can. Bodies fly through the air and collide, before returning to a hard wooden surface filled with other people’s feet to harshly land on. Watch a game sometime and you’ll see that it’s quite the minefield out there! So, with injuries being frequent, you might wonder what are the most common injuries? Well, we’ve got the answer:

Sprained ankle

The sprained ankle is the most typical basketball injury at any level.  Players are cutting back and forth, with puts extreme pressure on ankles, which are not strong to begin with.  Players also frequently land on each other’s feet, which rolls the ankle in a very dangerous way.  Simply put, ankles are the most fragile commodity on the basketball court.  Studies prove this, showing that ankle sprains are the most common injury in the NBA (

Patellofemoral inflammation

Patellofemoral inflammation is a pretty fancy way of saying “knee pain.”  Because basketball players are constantly running and jumping up and down on a hard surface, they put a lot of pressure on their knees.  This repeated pressure softens the knee cartilage, causing the kneecap and the femur to grind against each other, resulting in both pain and limited movement.  This is, understandably, a common NBA ailment because it occurs so naturally (but can also occur because of collisions, or the tightening of other leg muscles).  While sprained ankles are the most common NBA injury, studies show that patellofemoral inflammation is the injury that causes NBA players to miss the most games (  This is because it is difficult to hide, or to expedite the recovery process, whereas with a sprained ankle the player can tightly wrap tape around the injury and often continue playing.

Torn ACL

A torn ACL (Anterior Cruciate Ligament) is not nearly as common as the first two injuries, but it is very severe, and basketball players live in fear of it because it can both happen easily, and end a player’s career.  An ACL is one of the four main ligaments connecting the shin to the femur, and thus it is necessary for all athletic movement.  A torn ACL can occur when a player lands awkwardly on the ground, or when he gets his leg trapped under another player, and bent sideways or backwards.  A torn ACL is excruciatingly painful, and usually takes 8-12 months for an NBA player to fully recover from (

Broken nose

Things get rough under the hoop in the NBA, and noses get broken.  A bunch of tall strong men battle for the basketball, push and shove each other, and throw elbows to create space.  It’s not surprising that those elbows often connect with other people’s faces.  Many post players in the NBA suffer multiple broken noses throughout their career, but, thankfully for them, it’s not an injury that usually slows players down.

These are just some of the many common NBA injuries.  With players pushing athletic boundaries, colliding with one another, and running across the floor with reckless abandon, the regularity and diversity of injuries in the league is pretty astounding.


Robert Pendleton focuses on a variety of legal topics such as Patent Law, Pro Sports Injury Cases, Criminal Defense, Personal Injury, Civil Procedure and other topics as well.