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In Street Clothes

Covering sports injuries from the perspective of a certified athletic trainer and backed by analytics.

Phoenix Suns

  • Head Athletic Trainer: Aaron Nelson (15 Years as Head AT)
  • Total Games Lost to Injury Since the 2005-06 Season: 1172 (2nd in the league)
  • Total Cost for Games Lost to Injury Since the 2005-06 Season: $78.1 million (3rd)
  • 2015-2016 Games Missed Due to Injury: 176 (21st)
  • 2015-2016 Cost of Games Missed Due to Injury: $17.4 million (26th)
  • Best Finish in Games Missed Ranks: 1 (2007-08, 2011-12, 2014-15)
  • Worst Finish in Games Missed Ranks: 27 (2005-06)


The Suns training staff remains one of the most well respected groups in the NBA, despite a down year in 2014-15. One year after leading the league in fewest games missed, the team watched as their injury totals escalated near the 200 total games lost mark. Eric Bledsoe meniscus repair was the primary culprit as he alone nearly matched the 2014-15 team total. A lingering sports hernia cost Brandon Knight 28 games and broken foot cost Tyler Warren the final 34 games of the year.

However, the approach to treatment for each of these cases was predicated on long-term health with all three players ready for the upcoming season. By sacrificing games lost to injury last season, the Suns may be able to lean more heavily on players, especially Bledsoe and Knight, this year.

The early return of PJ Tucker is already showing the group’s effectivness. Tucker underwent a lumber microdiscetomy shortly before the start of camp to address a disc problem in his lower back. Historically players have struggled coming back from this surgery but, if Nelson and company can get him back and running without complications, the Suns medical team will once again have proven their immense value to the organization.