NBA players who are inclined to drive through the defense line are at a higher risk of ACL tears. The latest case in point is Klay Thompson’s tear in the 2019 NBA finals. Despite this fact, the majority of players who return from ACL reconstruction are just as strong as their healthy counterparts. So why do these players tend to drive through defense lines?
The NBA has a rule of thumb for predicting the risk of ACL tear: players with a higher career-average drive tendency have a greater likelihood of tearing their ACLs than those with a lower drive tendency. A player’s drive tendency is a measure of his ability to accelerate and change direction during a game.
According to a recent study, players with a high career-average drive tendency have a higher risk of tearing their ACL in the future. In addition, the number of second ACL tears in NBA players who have already torn their ACL is “through the roof.”
Women’s athletes are more likely to sustain an ACL tear than males. Female athletes have wider hips and riskier landings than males. Those hormones may increase the elasticity of the joints and lead to greater risk of ACL tears. And while there are many different reasons for an increased risk of an ACL tear, they are likely to contribute to the problem.