clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Utah Jazz forward Trevor Booker will be out tonight against Los Angeles Lakers in order to follow NBA's concussion protocol

New, comments

Better to be safe than sorry.

Jeff Swinger-USA TODAY Sports

Utah Jazz forward Trevor Booker sustained a concussion two nights ago against the Sacramento Kings. He was hit in the head by Kings center DeMarcus Cousins in the third quarter, and was later diagnosed with the injury. A number of gambling websites are reporting that he is going to be held out of tonight's game against the Los Angeles Lakers, as per the NBA's concussion protocol. Thankfully the NBA recognizes head injuries as more than just rumor or junk science, they actually have a pretty solid protocol, unlike the NFL or the NHL. (Or Entertainment wrestling leagues). To quote directly from it:

Understanding that concussions are diverse injuries that may have significant long-term consequences, the NBA Concussion Policy is designed to maximize the health and safety of NBA players by providing a framework of education and clinical management that best reflects the current scientific understanding of the injury. A history of prior concussion; a greater number, severity or duration of symptoms after a concussion; genetic predisposition; a history of learning disorder, ADHD, migraines, or mood disorder have all been suggested, among other things, to affect the risk of sustaining a concussion or having a more protracted course. The policy was created, therefore, under the core principle that each concussion, and each athlete, is unique. Accordingly, optimal medical care depends on an individualized and comprehensive approach to concussion management.

- The National Basketball Association Concussion Policy Summary, 2015-2016

The document details many finer points and the point is to educate both the teams and the media about the issues. Furthermore, there are several steps that need to happen before someone passes through the entire protocol. The main stages for Trevor right now are:

  • successfully completing the Acute Evaluation and Management portion of the protocol
  • waiting out the 24 hour period and passing a physical examination by a team doctor, and getting the all clear to return to participation by the Director of the NBA Concussion Program, Dr. Jeffrey Kutcher
  • then actually return to participation, and pass the graduated physical motor activity and cognitive tests to be then given the all clear to return to full action

With the concussion having taken place on Thursday night it's obvious, because time happens, that the 24 hour period of inactivity and direct observation is now over. While Trevor may have been advanced through the first two bullet points there (being evaluated, and then getting the decision to go to step three, the return to participation), it's likely that he has not yet cleared the final steps before tonight's game. And thus, he can't play. I am also assuming he has passed the second bullet point by this time, I have no confirmation on if he has been cleared to return to participation status.

When he does return, there is a further protocol that he needs to clear. Again, quoting from the NBA Media Central document:

a. The return to participation protocol involves several steps of increasing exertion - from a stationary bike, to jogging, to agility work, to non-contact team drills.

b. With each step, a player must be symptom free to move to the next step. If a player is not symptom free after a step, he stops until he is symptom free and begins again at the previous step of the protocol (i.e., the last step he passed without any symptoms).

c. It's important to note that there is no timeframe to complete the protocol. Each injury and player is different and recovery time can vary in each case. (Ed. Bolded for emphasis by SLC Dunk)

Looking at the Utah Jazz schedule, it seems clear that there will be enough time for Trevor to complete this last stage of the NBA's concussion protocol, and be ready to play before they fly off East for a week long trip. Utah will play the Charlotte Hornets on Monday, have a day off, play the New York Knicks, then have a night off, then finish with a back-to-back set of games, the first at the Brooklyn Nets, and the last down against the Washington Wizards. As far as road trips go, not the worst as they have the 19th night, 20th night, and 21st night all in the same Hotel room. That's great.

As for Trevor, if he can be cleared before the four game trip the better for the Jazz. If not, it's likely he could pass the last few stages in New York and be ready to play in at least the last two games of the trip.

For the Jazz they can't take risks with health right now, and it's good that the NBA has such a protocol in place. Missing Trevor for a game in January against the Lakers is such a small price to pay than any of the other longer-term problems than a player is a risk of, if these protocols were not in place.

This means more burn for Trey Lyles. A return to playing time for Tibor Pleiss. And possibly some time at power forward for Gordon Hayward and Joe Ingles. In a year to really play with the parts while we wait for Dante Exum to return, Quin Snyder is getting a lot of parts to play with.

I wish Trevor Booker a complete return when he is ready to return. There's no need to rush back.