`Game' shape will be a factor if NBA season resumes

Shandel Richardson

Miami Heat forward Meyers Leonard was only being honest.

He recently spoke about how long it would take for him to get back into "game" shape. Leonard has been sidelined more than two months because of an ankle injury.

"In terms of basketball shape, I’m certainly not there," Leonard said. "And then in terms of basketball-specific movement and taking the physical demand of guarding a Joel Embiid, guarding a (Domantas) Sabonis, something like that, I don’t know I can do that right now."

How fast a player can return to "game" shape is among the biggest concerns once the NBA lifts the 30-day coronavirus suspension. It is often an excuse players use when they are recovering from injuries. Now, it's a factor during this pause in the season. By the time league resumes, players will have gone at least a month, most likely longer, without activity.

Former Heat guard and current television analyst John Crotty said this is the biggest obstacle facing players because many will endure a similar layoff as Leonard.

"I would tell you this, it's impossible to really stay in game shape just working out with weights and doing cardio at the house, even going outside," Crotty said on recent radio appearance on 790 AM The Ticket. "You really need to be able to play on a court. This is a situation if guys had access to a court, it's most likely outside and that's not really great either from an NBA player perspective, to be running up and down on cement. I think it's going to be very hard to get everybody ramped up. I think guys will stay in some semblance of shape but I would anticipate at least a 10-day to two-week work up."

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