The NFL isn’t the only league to crack down on concussions in recent years. The NBA has, too. We may not think of basketball has a sport in which concussions often occur, but, as evidenced by Kevin Love in Game 2 of the NBA Finals, they do.
The NBA instituted concussion protocols before the 2011-12 season.
“I think it’s a good thing. You need to protect your players – many times from themselves,” former general manager and NBA President of Basketball Operations Rod Thorn said on CBS Sports Radio’s Gio and Jones. “During my career, we didn’t have those protocols, so if you leave it up to a player, a player’s going to play. To me, you have to take it away from a player. It didn’t happen much during my time because you just played. If you had a concussion, you didn’t even know it for the most part, other than maybe you had headaches or some nausea. But you kept playing. All of the professional sports have some concussion protocol now, and to me, it’s a very good thing.”
Thorn, 75, believes players benefit a great deal from the protocols.
“I do,” he said. “As you guys know, players are so competitive. You don’t want to go in your locker room and say, ‘Well, I have a little headache. I’m not going to play.’ A player’s going to play. It could be to the long-term detriment of the player, and it could even to some of the short-term detriment to the player. So you’ve got to protect players.”
It’ll be interesting to see what Cleveland does if Love is available for Game 4 on Friday. The Warriors averaged 107 points in the first two games of the series but were limited to 90 in Game 3.
It was their lowest scoring output of the postseason.
“To me, I think Cleveland was really ready last night,” Thorn said. “I think emotionally they were ready, and I think physically they took it to the Warriors right from the opening play. I think had Kevin played, the same result would have transpired. They are better defensively with Richard (Jefferson). I think there’s no doubt about that. With that smaller team, they looked really good last night. I think the real key will come tomorrow. Will they be able to maintain that physicality that they had last night and the intensity level that they had? I’m sure Golden State will play better, but Cleveland, if they play like they played last night, we’ve got a series.”