Trey Burke’s right index finger is still taped to his middle finger after breaking it in preseason, and there are times his ankle is planted firmly in a bucket of ice and water.
But since coming back after a 12-game absence at the start of the season, Burke has been able to avoid the injury bug. That’s becoming increasingly rare for point guards this season.
“It’s really tough,” Burke said of the position Friday, within hours of Phoenix’s Eric Bledsoe having knee surgery and New Orleans’ Jrue Holiday being ruled out indefinitely with a stress fracture. “You can’t take any nights off. With 82 games a season, back-to-backs, you’re on the road as much as we are, we have to take care of our bodies. And sometimes, even if you do take care of your body, you have those nagging injuries or sometimes those severe injuries. It’s just the name of the game.”
Bledsoe and Holiday join a list of wounded floor generals that includes Chris Paul, Deron Williams, Russell Westbrook, Rajon Rondo, Steve Nash and Derrick Rose.
For Burke, playing in his first NBA season has meant added strain on his body. Last year at Michigan, he played in 39 games during the Wolverines’ run to the championship game. Burke has already played 25 this year, having missed the dozen games to start the season, and with the Jazz not yet to the midway point. He’s averaging 30.6 minutes a night.
“College, you play a lot of games and you travel, but it’s kind of times two at this level,” he said. “Especially as a rookie, you have to get adjusted to that. With me playing the amount of minutes I’m playing right now, I just have to take care of my body and try to maintain.”
When he was traded from Chicago to Cleveland last week, forward Luol Deng told reporters the most difficult part of the process was explaining it to his mother.
Jazz forward Marvin Williams understands the difficulty of leaving longtime teammates, having been traded to the Jazz from Atlanta before last season, but he didn’t have to worry about his mother.
“My mom actually knew before I knew,” he said. “It was on Twitter, I guess. My brother told her.”