Ball Don't Lie

Rockets adjusting to lockout schedule with typical Rockets approach

Eric Freeman
Ball Don't Lie

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Kyle Lowry (Streeter Lecka/Getty)

The compressed lockout schedule has been tough for everyone associated with NBA teams, from players to coaches to marketers to young bloggers who would maybe like a night off from the NBA every once in a while. Nevertheless, it's the situation at hand, and everyone has to deal with it.

Some teams are getting more creative than others. Just take a look at the Houston Rockets, who've attacked the problem with their usual mix of resourcefulness and innovation. From Jonathan Feigen for the Houston Chronicle:

Because of the schedule compressed by the lockout, the Rockets have changed everything from the food players eat to the clothes they wear on flights. They have hired massage therapists and a doctor specializing in muscle-release techniques.

They have purchased equipment, including, in the training room, a $54,000 Cryosauna that gives the effect of an intense ice bath.

Coach Kevin McHale has barred players from the gym or cut practices short, especially for players logging long minutes. Weight training programs have been changed and stretching routines adjusted.

Rockets director of strength and conditioning Darryl Eto and rehabilitation coordinator and strength and conditioning assistant coach Dave Macha would not comment about any of the changes in the team's routine or training, citing techniques they consider proprietary.

Jones not only knows when the Rockets are likely to practice through the rest of the season, he said he could likely predict when there will be tough ones and when McHale will take it easy.

The approach, in general, has been to adjust to the bizarre schedule by cutting down on the level of uncertainty in how the team prepares. On top of that, they've also introduced new techniques into the recovery process. For all we know, this is only a one-year thing. What's impressive about the change is that they haven't blindly stuck to the same routine when every other routine has changed. A shift in standard operating procedure requires adjustments in all aspects of NBA life.

It'll be interesting to see if teams like the Rockets learn anything this year that they can use in future, more typical NBA seasons. This schedule is irregular, but that could also make it a useful training ground for more experimental training methods. For all we know, the proprietary techniques mentioned in this article could end up changing how NBA teams monitor players' health for years to come.

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