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NBA’s 65-game rule comes under fire amid stars’ injuries: ‘Quite bulls—‘

The NBA’s 65-game rule came under fire this week as a couple of star players missed time with legitimate injuries which could cost them money and trophies.

The league and its players’ union agreed to a new collective bargaining agreement last year, and it included a 65-game participation policy for players to be eligible for awards and accolades, which could lead to incentive money in their contracts. The rule was meant to cut down on load management.

Indiana Pacers All-Star Tyrese Haliburton and reigning MVP Joel Embiid could both feel the effects of the rule. Haliburton missed 13 games already and could only miss three more before potentially losing out on All-NBA honors and reportedly a potential $40 million payday.

“I think it’s a stupid rule, like plenty of the guys in the league, but this is what the owners want, so as players, we gotta do our job and play in 65 games if we’re able to,” he told The Athletic. “So, that’s what I gotta do, take care of my body to be able to play in those games, and I think you’re seeing other players in the league kind of face the same thing. As long as the owners are happy.”

Haliburton came on strong during the NBA’s in-season tournament. He was averaging 23.2 points and leading the NBA with 12.5 assists per game, but he was also dealing with a hamstring injury.

Tyrese Haliburton falls

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Enter Embiid.

The Philadelphia 76ers star will miss Thursday’s game against the Utah Jazz after suffering a knee injury against the Golden State Warriors. He already missed games against the Denver Nuggets and Portland Trail Blazers, which put his hopes of winning back-to-back MVP awards in jeopardy.

“Joel playing tonight felt very much so because of the 65-game rule. I think it’s actually quite bulls—,” Green said on his podcast after the game against the Sixers. “Guys didn’t face those rules before.

“In turn, you get Joel, who comes out there tonight and he forces it. Freak play with him and (Jonathan Kuminga) diving for the ball, but maybe it’s not as bad if the knee isn’t already banged up. I don’t really bang with it. Now we’ve got one of our premier faces in this league, the MVP of our league, possibly hurt for an extended period of time because he’s forcing it.”

Draymond Green guards Joel Embiid

It is unclear how long Embiid will be out for. 

He is leading the NBA with 35.3 points per game.

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