Amount of Minutes Played Does Not Contribute to Anterior Cruciate Ligament Injury in National Basketball Association Athletes.

Document Type


Publication Date


Publication Title



There is limited information on the potential risk factors for sustaining an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tear in National Basketball Association (NBA) athletes. This study evaluated 83 NBA players who sustained an ACL injury between 1984 and 2015 to determine the influence of minutes played on injury risk. Minutes played in the injury game, during the season, and over their career were assessed, along with the ability to return to play, player efficiency rating, and playing time after return. Athletes in the NBA played significantly fewer minutes before sustaining an ACL injury (17.1 minutes) than their average minutes per game that season (23.5 minutes; P<.01) or over their career (24.0 minutes; P<.01). One-third of all injuries occurred during the first quarter of the season (preseason to November). There was a 95% rate of return (78 players) to NBA competition the season following ACL injury. Players who were drafted as lottery picks (draft pick 1 to 15) or those who were starters played significantly more minutes the season following injury than those who were not (both P<.01). Players who returned to play had decreased player efficiency ratings when compared with matched controls. This study found that minutes played in a single NBA game did not contribute to the risk of sustaining an ACL injury. Although there was a high rate of return to NBA competition the season following injury, those who were elite athletes played more minutes per game than those who were not. Athletes who returned to play sustained a decrease in player efficiency ratings compared with similar athletes without ACL injury. [Orthopedics. 2017; 40(4):e658-e662.].

Medical Subject Headings

Adult; Anterior Cruciate Ligament; Anterior Cruciate Ligament Injuries; Athletic Performance; Basketball; Female; Humans; Male; Recovery of Function; Return to Sport; Time Factors; United States; Young Adult

PubMed ID






First Page


Last Page