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Even some of the most durable players in the game are being affected. Kobe Bryant is playing through the pain of an injured right wrist and Barea, who missed a total of eight games over the last three years for the Mavericks, has already missed 15 games in his first season in Minnesota because of a strained left hamstring and sprained left ankle.

“Everybody’s getting hurt,” Barea said. “You’ve just got to be patient and you have to really be honest and just know when you’re right and know when you have to sit out. It’s super hard.”

No matter how serious the injury, missing time carries greater consequences this season. If a player sat out a week to rest a pulled hamstring in most years, he might miss three games. This year? Could be as many as five.

“Nobody’s been through anything like this,” O’Neal said. “There’s only a handful of us that have even been through the 1998-99 lockout season that are still in the NBA. So it’s a transition for everybody.”


AP Sports Writers Cliff Brunt in Indianapolis and Antonio Gonzalez in Oakland, Calif., contributed to this story.


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