Injuries happen during NBA games. They are a fact of life in professional basketball, an unavoidable consequence of putting 10 of the world’s best athletes on the same floor at the same time with competing objectives. Opponents run into each other. They push each other inadvertently. They step on each other’s feet and land in the wrong spots. This is the expectation.
But players hurting their own teammates? That is a bit harder to stomach, and it is what the Washington Wizards had to endure on Monday in their battle with the Detroit Pistons. Rui Hachimura, the team’s top draft pick from this past June, was lost for the night after he and teammate Isaac Bonga went up for the same rebound and Bonga accidentally kicked Hachimura in the groin. The Wizards officially called the injury a “groin contusion.”
You really couldn’t ask for a worse friendly fire than this one. Unfortunately for the Wizards, Hachimura will be sidelined for at least the next five games and will be re-evaluated by the Wizards when they conclude their upcoming road trip, beginning Dec. 20 at Toronto. Players have enough to worry about protecting the parts of their bodies that are more typically injured during contact with opponents. To get hit in such a sensitive area by one’s own teammate is simply brutal.
If nothing else, this can at least be a learning experience. Hachimura is a rookie, and Bonga might as well be after barely playing in his first season with the Los Angeles Lakers. Now they’ve learned the hard way: be more careful with flying legs while fighting for rebounds.