The NBA is taking steps to ensure player safety by clearing the area along the baseline, according to a memo to teams obtained by the Associated Press. The memo calls for an extra foot of space on both sides of basket stanchions, and a reduced number of photographers seated on the baselines.
The "escape lanes" on either side of the stanchions will be increased from three feet to four feet wide. The number of photographers allowed to sit on the baseline will shrink from 24 to 20, 10 on each end of the court. In the 2010-11 season, the NBA allowed 40 photographers on the baselines.
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The new rules come less than a month after Paul George broke his leg when he crashed into a stanchion during a Team USA intrasquad scrimmage. However, NBA president of operations Rod Thorn said the changes were planned before George's traumatic injury.
George is expected to miss at least a year while recovering from the injury.
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- Alex Hampl