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NBA FINALS / GAME 3 LAKERS 106, NEW JERSEY 103 | SPOTLIGHT

Doctor Says Physical Demands Not a Factor

June 10, 2002|Jerry Crowe

You might think that after playing so many extra games over the last three seasons--23 playoff games two years ago, 16 last year and 18 this year--the Lakers should be near the breaking point in terms of wear and tear.

That's 57 more games, for instance, than the Clippers have played over the same period, and, more to the point, 38 more than the New Jersey Nets.

Laker Coach Phil Jackson, whose team is trying to win its third consecutive NBA championship, said last week that the third title is the most difficult--in part because of the physical demands on the players.

"You're dealing with players that are playing 100-plus games a season," Jackson said. "That's a difficult task. It's a difficult task because the in-between periods get shorter and shorter to recuperate, come back and play."

But Robert Huizenga, a former Raider team doctor, is skeptical.

"I don't think your body, your muscles, in terms of fatigue or damage, remember what you did last June, compared to, let's say, the Nets, who didn't play any extra games last year," Huizenga said. "From an exercise physiology point, I don't think that [argument] goes anywhere.

"If one team didn't play much the month before, or two months before, we could have something to talk about. But not from a year ago."

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